“Because someone is in a white coat and uses big medical instruments, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re right” – this is what Kylie Minogue said about her misdiagnosis experience. The Australian celebrity singer was told by her doctor that everything was fine, but her own “gut feeling” led her to being retested, and in 2009, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
It can happen to anyone, and it does happen. It’s real, and the problems that can be caused can lead to serious health complications, and even death.
In the UK, especially with the NHS so stretched out, mistakes are not uncommon. The BBC once reported that one in six patients are misdiagnosed by NHS doctors and GPs. However, this doesn’t mean we have to tolerate it. Misdiagnoses can be dangerous, especially if a patient has an aggressive illness that must be treated quickly. A misdiagnosis can mean the problem is not found and even perhaps an incorrect diagnosis made; leading to unnecessary and potentially dangerous treatment. Mistreatment in serious cases can lead to irreparable damage.
Real examples of misdiagnosis and the problems caused
In April 2013, one man was sent home with ‘chest infections’ but shortly died thereafter because he had lung cancer. The doctors only realised he had cancer post-mortem and blamed the misdiagnosis on a misread scan. The man’s family was paid a five figure sum for compensation.
Last year, a toddler was reportedly misdiagnosed when a doctor missed signs of toxic shock syndrome and said that he had ‘tonsillitis’. The two-year-old child was in critical condition after taking the prescribed tonsillitis medication, and upon inspection by a different doctor, his toxic shock symptoms were finally recognised. The delay in diagnosis led to the amputation of both of the toddler’s legs and 7 of his fingers to stop the aggressive disease spreading further. An incredibly tragic case.
In 2015, one woman went to hospital with back pains but was sent home prematurely without a much-needed MRI scan. Her collapsed disc was therefore missed and the delay led to the woman becoming disabled. The NHS has since paid her £2 million in a court-awarded compensation settlement for the negligent care.
Proving misdiagnosis can be hard
Proof of a misdiagnosis can be difficult. The key evidence needed is usually the medical report that details all the symptoms the patient gives, test results and the attending doctor’s notes. If, for example, it was a fracture, the x-rays may be not be clear to read because of swelling. Symptoms may be missed or misinterpreted as things like pain can depend on the patient’s own tolerance. Some symptoms can also point to multiple problems; chest pains could be because of minor muscle bruising, but can also indicate heart attacks.
I think I have been misdiagnosed; what should I do?
If you genuinely think, or have reason to believe, you have been misdiagnosed, don’t risk your health and life; get a second opinion.
Talk to a specialist lawyer on how you can make a claim to compensate you for the misdiagnosis and the suffering you’ve gone through because of it. We’re experts and can instruct a medical professional to assess your claim and your medical records to see whether you could have been diagnosed correctly and / or in time. If so, you may be eligible for compensation for the prolonged and unnecessary suffering resulting from the misdiagnosis, and any complications caused as a result.
The content of this post/page was considered accurate at the time of the original posting and/or at the time of any posted revision. The content of this page may, therefore, be out of date. The information contained within this page does not constitute legal advice. Any reliance you place on the information contained within this page is done so at your own risk.
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