Houston Medical Misdiagnosis Lawyers

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A medical misdiagnosis is a breach of trust and professionalism that could lead to severe injury or death. A wrong, delayed, or overlooked diagnosis from a medical professional may become a legal matter under several circumstances. Examples include when the misdiagnosis causes injury, death, or is part of a pattern of ongoing negligence from a trusted healthcare worker.

We at Pierce Skrabanek have compiled the following examples and statistics about medical misdiagnosis, along with a basic explanation of how such cases are proven under medical malpractice law. If you need representation right away, reach out to us at your earliest convenience to discuss your circumstances by calling (832) 690-7000.

A medical misdiagnosis is an inexcusable failure of care. A medical malpractice lawyer can help you recover damages, seek financial support for ongoing treatment, and remove incompetant actors from critical healthcare jobs.

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Medical Misdiagnosis Statistics

From research by the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

74.1% of serious misdiagnosis claims occurred in three main categories:

Cancer (37.8%)
Vascular Events (22.8%)
Infection (13.5%)

12 million people in the U.S. are impacted by medical misdiagnosis malpractice annually.

1 in 3 misdiagnoses result in severe injury or death.

Women and people of color are 20-30% more likely to be misdiagnosed.

Between 40,000-80,000 people die each year due to complications from misdiagnoses.

Misdiagnosis errors cause 10% of total patient deaths.

Contact Pierce Skrabanek for legal help.
(832) 690-7000 | www.pstriallaw.com

What Qualifies as a Medical Misdiagnosis?

As a form of medical malpractice, misdiagnosis describes any of the following breaches of care:

  • Failure to diagnose: If a doctor or qualified medical professional fails to recognize and diagnose conditions like heart attack, cancer, or stroke (to name a few critical examples), the consequences could be fatal. A Houston failure to diagnose lawyer can provide assistance for these specific types of claims.
  • Failure to respond or admit for care: Dismissing or underestimating complaints of patients without performing diagnostic surveys (like X-rays or blood tests). This is a direct violation of healthcare oaths and protocols that could lead to worsening injury for the patient.
  • Failure to follow up appropriately: A failure to monitor for a likely complication is another form of medical negligence. Examples include watching for infection after surgery, or limiting the risk of a blood clot after discovering deep vein thrombosis.
  • Slow or delayed care: When a doctor or medical professional fails to realize the gravity and emergency of a condition, the clock is ticking. The longer the delay, the more damage is done, some of which may be irreversible. For example, a delay of care when an unborn baby is in distress could cause oxygen deprivation and brain injury.
  • Misdiagnosis: If a doctor provides an incorrect diagnosis, they provide damaging/unnecessary treatment while the true condition worsens. An example would be mistaking a heart attack for a panic attack.

A classic example of misdiagnosis still used as a teaching case today is Valentino’s Syndrome, which caused the death of Old Hollywood film star Rudolph Valentino at age 31. It’s a situation where a perforated ulcer is easily misdiagnosed as appendicitis. By treating the wrong condition, a patient undergoes unnecessary surgery to remove a perfectly functioning organ, while the real condition continues to fester untreated. The untreated condition can then go on to cause pain, further medical complications, or even death.

If you’ve suffered injuries or a delay in care due to a missed condition or misdiagnosis, call 832-690-7000 to speak with the medical malpractice lawyers at Pierce Skrabanek about filing a lawsuit.

What Are the Statistics on Medical Misdiagnosis Fatalities?

Healthcare insurance in the United States is often tied to employment, and many preventative care visits are skipped because they are too expensive for families to afford. When a person finally has the time and the funds to seek medical care, it is vital that the staff is both competent and comprehensive. The statistics unfortunately do not bear that out.

According to research funded by the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine, and conducted by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, out of 55,000 malpractice claims analyzed:

  • 74.1% of serious misdiagnosis claims occurred in three main categories: cancer (37.8%), vascular events (22.8%), and infection (13.5%)
  • Roughly 12 million people in the U.S. are impacted by medical misdiagnosis malpractice annually
  • Between 40,000-80,000 people die each year due to complications from misdiagnoses
  • Women and people of color are 20-30% more likely to be misdiagnosed
  • A ratio of 1 in 3 misdiagnoses result in severe injury or death
  • Misdiagnosis errors cause 10% of total patient deaths

Commonly misdiagnosed conditions in Houston include chronic illnesses like diabetes and cancer, as well as emergency conditions like pulmonary embolism or appendicitis. Rare and difficult to diagnose conditions like Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, lupus, and fibromyalgia are even more likely to be overlooked.

Rare illnesses are known as “zebra” conditions, so called because doctors are often taught that the simplest explanation for symptoms is usually the correct one. The phrase in medical school is, ​​“When you hear the sound of hooves, think horses, not zebras.”

If you are injured by diagnostic failures, you are not just a statistic to the medical misdiagnosis attorneys at Pierce Skrabanek. Contact a Houston failure to diagnose attorney for fierce advocacy in seeking the resources you need for proper treatment and recovery.

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What Could a Medical Misdiagnosis Lawsuit Do For You?

A Houston misdiagnosis lawyer proves cases by showing four critical points of fact: a medical worker owed a duty of care to their patient; there was a breach or failure of that duty; injuries resulted from the breach; and those injuries had a substantial cost.

A successful settlement or verdict could help cover:

  • Medical bills for past and future treatment
  • Lost wages and employment-related opportunities or benefits (like health insurance)
  • Pain and suffering for the physical and mental toll endured during a preventable medical injury
  • Punitive or “punishment” damages against the negligent doctor or hospital, funds that may then be awarded to you
  • Wrongful death damages in cases where a delay in care either caused or contributed to a person’s death

Another tangible benefit of filing a lawsuit is the change it could make for future patients. Your case could prompt the delicensing of incompentant employees, new hospital policies that help avoid misdiagnosis, or a change in training so that such a grievous error is never made again.

The medical misdiagnosis lawyers at Pierce Skrabanek care about your healthcare—we will help you seek justice under the law for your malpractice injuries.

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Frequently Asked Questions

​​What qualifies as a medical misdiagnosis?

Medical misdiagnosis could come in the form of failing to diagnose any illness, negligently diagnosing one condition as another, or failing to follow up appropriately for known complications or risks.

Slow or delayed care in emergency situations may also be considered malpractice, as well as failing to respond to patient distress or admit for care.

What are commonly misdiagnosed conditions?

Commonly misdiagnosed conditions include chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cancer, and Celiac disease. Misdiagnosis also regularly occurs with emergency conditions like heart attack, stroke, pulmonary embolism, and appendicitis. Additionally, rare and difficult-to-diagnose diseases like Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, lupus, and fibromyalgia are frequently misdiagnosed.

Additionally, rare and difficult-to-diagnose diseases like Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, lupus, and fibromyalgia are frequently misdiagnosed. Misdiagnosis claims can overlap with other legal issues, such as issues involving medical devices (negligent implant of a device).

How does a Houston misdiagnosis lawyer prove a case?

An attorney builds a medical malpractice misdiagnosis case by providing evidence that a medical worker (1) owed a duty of care to their patient, (2) failed to perform that duty, and (3) as a result caused an injury. The final step needed to achieve a settlement involves describing the cost of your injury in money spent, time lost, and accounting for future care needs.

What could a Houston misdiagnosis lawsuit do for me?

A medical misdiagnosis lawsuit could help cover medical bills for past and future treatment. You may also be entitled to compensation for lost wages and employment-related benefits. Your lawyer can then argue for pain and suffering compensation to account for the anguish and stress your misdiagnosis has caused.

Contact the medical malpractice attorneys at Pierce Skrabanek at 832-583-1862 for experienced legal representation.