At any point in our journey through the health system, whether primary, secondary, or tertiary care, we place our trust in the hands of medical professionals to diagnose injury and disease. The healthcare system is designed to ensure that patients are referred to clinical specialists who are best placed to assess patients who have presenting symptoms which may warrant close attention. And it is the role of those with the necessary skills to complete all of the required tests, scans, and examinations to make a properly informed diagnosis.
Which healthcare professionals carry out medical diagnoses?
There are many skilled medical professionals involved in the medical diagnosis process; this is not just the role of doctors and GPs. Diagnosing healthcare professionals may include a:
- General practitioner (GPs)
- Nurse practitioner
- Emergency medical physician
- Laboratory technician
- Physical therapist
- Speech and language therapist
In many cases, the individual medical professional performing a diagnosis may be reliant on the skills and interpretation of others, including radiologists and biochemists.
What is meant by medical misdiagnosis?
There are three broad types of medical misdiagnosis, as follows:
Failure to diagnose – Misdiagnosis may have occurred if a medical professional fails to spot signs of illness or disease, meaning your condition is completely undiagnosed. If disease or illness goes undiagnosed, the patient’s health may decline as a result, and in some cases may suffer long-term consequences, or even death as a result.
Delayed diagnosis – Depending on the nature of the condition, any delay in diagnosis can result in permanent or persistent physical or psychological damage. In the context of conditions such as cancer, any delay can make the difference between curative treatment and palliative care.
Incorrect diagnosis – If a medical professional has provided an incorrect diagnosis, you may be given treatment which not only do you not require, it may cause your condition to remain untreated. In some cases, the treatment provided may cause unnecessary side-effects, health complications, or even damage.
What is a differential diagnosis?
It is the role of medical professionals to make the correct diagnosis, even when the evidence and presenting signs and symptoms suggest a range of possible diseases or conditions. The process of deducing which is the correct diagnosis from more than one is referred to as making a ‘differential diagnosis’. It may be important to understand what this term means in the context of any claim for medical negligence due to misdiagnosis.
Can I bring a claim for medical misdiagnosis?
To bring a claim for medical misdiagnosis, it will be necessary to provide evidence that:
- The medical care you received was below a satisfactory standard (i.e. that another medical professional of the same level would have made a correct diagnosis), and;
- This negligence caused you damage or injury.
To prove your case, we will compile evidence, including medical records, and seek expert medical opinion.
What may a medical misdiagnosis injury claim cover?
Claims following medical misdiagnosis which leads to injury or disease may cover two areas of loss:
- Pain and suffering due to the injury; and
- Specific costs resulting from the injury caused. This may cover costs already incurred, such as transport, accommodation, and medical treatment, and expected future expenses, such as physical therapy and care costs. The costs you receive will be based on the precise injuries suffered and the circumstances of the case.
How Lavelle Partners Medical Negligence Solicitors can assist you in bringing a claim
- Lavelle Partners have successfully managed many cases of injury or disease caused by medical misdiagnosis.
- Our personal injury team, headed by partner, Avril Scally, who herself has over 15 years’ experience in medical negligence claims, place client care at the centre of everything they do.
- From the first moment you speak to one of our solicitors, we will listen to your case carefully and with empathy and will only recommend advancing your case if we believe you have a valid case.
- We have both the legal expertise and understanding of the real-life challenges faced by individuals and their families following such events.
- Our solicitors will manage the process entirely on your behalf; compiling the information necessary for your case, including medical notes and managing the submission of your medical negligence claim.
By allowing us to handle your claim on your behalf, you can focus on what is most important – your recovery and care, or that of your family member or loved one.
For further information on making a claim following an injury due to medical misdiagnosis in Ireland, please contact Lavelle Partners in confidence on (01) 644 5800 or email Avril Scally at [email protected]