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When a person is diagnosed as having an illness, a doctor is generally the one who makes that decision. That's because doctors have been specially trained to make diagnoses, are certified by medical boards, and are more often than not insured against making errors.
A lawsuit filed in Ohio last year against a cognitive clinic shows just how destructive a wrong diagnosis can be -- especially for a serious illness like Alzheimer's. The lawsuit includes 50 plus people who all allege they were misdiagnosed by the clinic. Among the most heart-wrenching tale involves one man who committed suicide after learning of the misdiagnosis, only for his wife to learn that an autopsy revealed no Alzheimer's disease at all.
Specifically, the case alleges that the clinic's director, while holding a PhD, was not properly credentialed, nor trained, to make diagnoses, yet he would diagnosis patients, and sometimes whole families, with Alzheimer's. It is alleged that she abused her husband's actual real medical licensing to order patient tests. Additionally, she would attempt to persuade patients against medications (which she couldn't prescribe anyway) and getting second opinions from actual licensed doctors.
If a doctor misdiagnoses a patient, there very well could be a medical malpractice, a medical negligence, or a professional negligence claim that you can sue over. Misdiagnosis liability is generally evaluated the same way as any other medical malpractice claim would be evaluated by comparing what your doctor did, with what a reasonable doctor in the community would have done.
If a reasonable doctor would have made the same misdiagnosis, your claim may not be winnable. However, what a reasonable doctor would do is most likely a question of fact that medical experts can disagree about, leaving a judge or jury to decide what's reasonable.
Medical malpractice cases are rather nuanced, and can be incredibly complicated. If you believe that you have suffered an injury as a result of a misdiagnosis, contacting an experienced injury attorney is a good first step in determining whether you have a worthwhile case or claim.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.