You may be wondering what happens if you get diagnosed with a particular health concern and later find that it is the wrong diagnosis.
Misdiagnosis is a tricky area due to how complex and various human bodies are. However, there are cases where a misdiagnosis falls under medical malpractice and can have dire consequences for the patient.
Located in Las Cruces, Nex Mexico, the Harmonson Law Firm knows how difficult a medical malpractice tragedy can be. Read on to learn more about misdiagnosis cases of medical malpractice to see whether we can help.
Misdiagnosis Medical Malpractice Cases in New Mexico
Health diagnoses can be hard. It can sometimes take quite a while to get a proper diagnosis and understand what might be impacting your health.
When a doctor doesn’t do their due diligence, however, a misdiagnosis can lead to further, severe issues such as improper medication, procedures, or the lack of action — which can be serious when a patient does have a serious issue that was not diagnosed.
Misdiagnosis can occur when:
- Methods and protocols all physicians use are not followed
- Physicians fail to use the correct tests (or test results are misinterpreted)
- Healthcare professionals do not go through a process of elimination, sometimes called differential diagnosis
- Doctors carelessly fail to recognize symptoms
- Patients are not referred to a specialist
Common Misdiagnoses in New Mexico
Unfortunately, misdiagnoses happen more often than we might like to believe.
Here are some of the most common misdiagnoses that occur:
- Pulmonary Embolism and other Vascular Disease— Misdiagnosed as chest pain or shortness of breath
- Heart Attack — Misdiagnosed as indigestion, panic attack
- Cancer — Most common form of misdiagnosis
- Infection— Misdiagnosed as a cold, virus or other condition
Misdiagnosis claims frequently occur in the ER setting where doctors, ER nurses and other personnel work in fast-paced and high pressure environments. When time and attention aren’t given to each individual patient, mistakes happen which can lead to a catastrophic or fatal misdiagnosis.
Can I prevent my New Mexico Doctor from giving me a Misdiagnosis?
Mistakes happen, but being armed with knowledge and questions to ask may help lessen the likelihood that it will happen to you.
Try taking these preparations before visiting a doctor to do your best to avoid a misdiagnosis:
- Ask follow up questions if you are not getting better
- Write down directions, terms, notes, or anything you do not understand
- Ask for other possible diagnoses so you can switch treatment if needed
- See if it is possible to make an appointment with a specialist
If you are not getting any better, something feels off, or you are getting worse:
- Return to the doctor and explain additional issues or symptoms
- Get a second opinion from a different doctor
Of course, nothing can 100% protect you from the possibility of an accident or someone else’s irresponsibility. But if you are misdiagnosed, know that The Harmonson Law Firm is always here to help.
How to start the process of suing your doctor for a misdiagnosis in New Mexico
Starting a medical malpractice lawsuit can seem like a daunting task.
Before the first step of pursuing a claim, it is best to consult with a New Mexico attorney who has experience in medical malpractice cases to help fight for your compensation.
Your attorney can help you with the following:
- The duty of care- Proving that the doctor had a responsibility of caring for you
- The breach- Proving that the doctor breached this duty of care
- The causation- Proving that the misdiagnosis caused you harm directly
- The damages- Proving that you deserve to be compensated
It’s also important to remember that in New Mexico, there is a three-year statute of limitations for medical malpractice, which means you have three years from the date of the misdiagnosis (or from the date you discovered it was a misdiagnosis) to file your lawsuit.