Charlotte, North Carolina, residents put a lot of trust in their doctors whenever they visit their offices. Basically, they expect that the doctor will be able to explain why they are feeling the way they are and then help them get better. This is precisely why people go to doctors in the first place and why doctors get paid the big bucks.
Unfortunately, though, doctors do not always diagnose their patient's conditions accurately. At other times, they took too long to do so. As a result, a patient can wind up in a worsened condition not only from their actual illness or injury but also from receiving the wrong type of treatment.
Furthermore, a patient may also lose valuable time in fighting an illness like cancer because of a misdiagnosis. On occasion, the loss of time can be the difference between a full recovery and a premature death.
According to a couple of recent studies, doctors around the country misdiagnose, or unreasonably delay in making a diagnosis, frequently enough such that misdiagnosis is one of the most common reasons for medical malpractice claims.
One study, which reviewed 1,800 malpractice claims, determined that 46 percent of them had to do with an improper diagnosis. Perhaps more importantly, claims related to misdiagnosis accounted for over two-thirds of all dollars paid to resolve these claims.
Another study, which focused on pediatric patients, determined that of over 1,200 claims, 38 percent were related to misdiagnosis. This second study also concluded that, oftentimes, misdiagnosis was due to a doctor's simply not doing a thorough enough evaluation of the patient's symptoms.
While doctors cannot be perfect, they are entrusted to take all reasonable steps to diagnose their patients' medical conditions accurately and efficiently. When they fail to do so, a patient may face serious personal injury or even death. Legal options are available to injured patients under these circumstances.