There are many different types of medical malpractice lawsuits that can
be filed in Texas relating to birth and pregnancy. When most people think
of “malpractice,” though, they often envision a negligent doctor
doing something grossly negligent in an inherently dangerous arena, such
as an operating room or delivery suite. Many medical malpractice suits
can be more mundane on the surface, however, despite still involving potentially
deadly errors for mother and baby.
One type of malpractice suit that may be appropriate for some is a misdiagnosis
suit. Essentially, this is what it sounds like: a suit filed when a physician
or related professional incorrectly identifies a patient’s condition
or fails to recognize that the patient has a disease in the first place.
A misdiagnosis suit can be filed even if a doctor properly diagnoses a
patient later on. A delayed diagnosis may prove deadly in some situations;
delays in treatment also can cause a patient to experience a worsened
condition. In either scenario, the costs of such delay can grow exponentially
over time. If a misdiagnosis occurs with a pregnant woman, the damages
suffered can affect the unborn child, as well as an expecting mother.
Interestingly, many potential misdiagnosis suits are left unfiled. According
to one study from the Veterans Administration system in Texas, primary
care visits numbering at around 500 million give an opportunity for about
500,000 misdiagnosis events. However, the National Center for Policy Analysis
notes that a majority of lawsuits centering on failure to diagnose do
not ultimately get filed. This may be due to the non-reporting of many
Doctors have a strong incentive not to report misdiagnoses or delivery
room negligence. Still, unlike negligence that occurs during the birth
of a baby or amidst an operation, a misdiagnosis often involves just one
person responsible, rather than a team of professionals. It is therefore
easier for the responsible party to fail to report misdiagnosis mistakes.
It follows that a patient may have to get the process started themselves
by speaking with a malpractice attorney when it comes to taking action
to address a misdiagnosis.