A medical misdiagnosis of an injury, illness or disease can have serious health consequences. In fact, 12 million people suffer as a result of medical misdiagnosis, and 40,000 to 80,000 of them die annually. In Illinois, the law allows you to bring a case against your doctor if their misdiagnosis causes you harm or injury.
What constitutes misdiagnosis
A medical misdiagnosis is when a doctor incorrectly examines, discovers or identifies a medical condition. It can involve failing to diagnose, misdiagnosing or delayed diagnosis. Failing to diagnose is when a doctor fails to recognize the signs and symptoms of a particular illness or medical condition. Misdiagnosis is when a doctor incorrectly identifies an illness or condition. Delayed diagnosis occurs when a patient’s signs or symptoms are not recognized until it is too late for effective treatment.
The most common errors doctors make include:
- Stroke misdiagnosis
- Failure to identify a growing tumor
- Confusing the symptoms of a heart attack with another condition, commonly acid reflux
- Failing to identify internal organ damage after a car accident
Seeking compensation for the misdiagnosis
In Illinois, you can seek compensation for a medical misdiagnosis if you can prove that the doctor was negligent in their diagnosis and treatment of your condition. You can do this by demonstrating:
- That the doctor had a duty to provide medical care
- That they breached this duty by providing an incorrect diagnosis or failing to diagnose your condition
- The breach resulted in harm or injury to you
- You suffered damages as a result of the misdiagnosis, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of income, lost earning capacity, medical expenses and more
If you’ve decided to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, you can improve your chances of getting compensation by working within the statute of limitations timeframe (which is two years in Illinois), gathering as much evidence as you can and having some rough understanding of how the process works and your rights as a victim. If you win, the judge may award you damages intended to compensate you for the pain, suffering and loss of income caused by the misdiagnosis.