We trust that doctors and hospitals will take care of us and our loved ones in times of sickness and injury. But when medical professionals commit malpractice, it can lead to life-threatening conditions or even death. One of the most common examples of malpractice is misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose a problem. Physicians are expected to conduct thorough examinations and listen as their patients describe their symptoms. This information, combined with the doctor’s knowledge, training, and experience, is used to diagnose conditions. It is also used to recommend treatments, including additional exams or referrals to specialists. A misdiagnosis occurs when the health professional fails to take these steps. When a misdiagnosis occurs, a Georgia medical malpractice lawyer may be able to get compensation.
Cancer, strokes, clogged arteries, and heart attacks are among the most commonly misdiagnosed conditions and illnesses. Many conditions are so serious that improper diagnosis and treatment can lead to serious injury, other illness, or even death. In some cases, it’s not the misdiagnosis that causes the problem. If a doctor prescribes the wrong treatment, it can prove life-threatening or fatal for the patient. Misdiagnoses can occur for numerous reasons. Doctors may focus on one diagnosis while ignoring other possible causes or explanations of the patient’s symptoms. Other times, healthcare professionals may incorrectly interpret scans, x-rays, and the results of other examinations and tests.
Regardless of why they happen, there are certain rules that apply when trying to hold physicians liable. A misdiagnosis does not necessarily mean the patient has a good medical malpractice claim. A Georgia medical malpractice lawyer can help you determine if you have a good claim. A mistake may not have serious consequences or cause any significant complications. In other cases, diseases and illnesses have progressed to the point that no treatments would help anyway.
HOW A GEORGIA MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWYER CAN HELP
A Georgia malpractice lawyer will investigate a patient’s claims and determine if these two required elements are present: Failure to meet the applicable standard of care. Health professionals have an obligation to treat their patients with a certain level of care. In other words, they must act with reasonable competence in how they practice medicine. The treatment given – or not given – must cause the resulting injury or death. A mistake may not cause the injury complained of by the patient. Or, the patient may have a preexisting condition. A patient must establish a link between the misdiagnosis and the harm at issue.
Another element – the existence of a duty of care between doctor and patient – is usually not in dispute. The healthcare provider is instead more likely to vigorously defend against the above two criteria. Doctors will be judged on what a reasonable practitioner, in their field of expertise, would do in the given situation. A doctor will be held liable if no reasonable provider in his or her position would have misdiagnosed the patient’s condition. Potential damages for which a healthcare provider may be liable include medical costs and wrongful death. Pain and suffering, emotional distress, and lost wages are other possible damages.
SPEAK TO A GEORGIA MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWYER TODAY
Georgia’s malpractice statute sets a tough standard, and doctors are not required to be perfect. A malpractice claim essentially argues that a healthcare professional conducted himself or herself in an exceptionally poor manner. Hospitals, clinics, and primary physicians will use medical records and expert witnesses to defend their practice. Larger medical providers employ aggressive and skilled litigators. Insurance companies will likely get involved and try to convince the victim to settle for less than the claim is worth. All of these factors make malpractice cases difficult. On top of this, claims generally must be filed within two years of injury in the state of Georgia.
A Georgia medical malpractice lawyer who understands the complexity of malpractice and is experienced with diagnosis errors may be able to help get justice. If a statute of limitations issue arises, there may be exceptions available. Don’t pursue your case alone, call Schneider Hammers to confidentially speak with an attorney today.