Schmitt Mulhern, LLC

Study: Serious harm results from misdiagnosis

When it comes to a medical diagnosis, as a society we put a lot of trust in doctors. After all, they are the ones who went through the schooling and are now practicing in the medical field. Should they not be the ones to know what is wrong when someone comes into their office complaining of some type of ailment?

Sadly, all too often, doctors make mistakes. They fail to order the appropriate tests or misinterpret the results. In other cases, they may simply not be paying close enough attention to what the patient is saying, missing key clues for a proper diagnosis.

At Schmitt Mulhern, LLC, we represent people who have suffered as the result of a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. Since doctors and hospitals have attorneys on their side -- carefully crafting a defense on their behalf -- we believe patients should also have legal representation on their side, making sure just as strong a case is being built for why the doctor or hospital is responsible for the negative outcome.

Outpatient care: 1 in 20 receive misdiagnosis

In talking about misdiagnosis, some may mistakenly believe that this is a rare phenomenon. It is not. In fact, one study found that approximately 12 million people a year are misdiagnosed at outpatient facilities. With these misdiagnoses, half have the potential to lead to serious harm to the patient.

For example, let's say someone goes to the doctor complaining of a cough. Thinking this is allergies-related, the direction from the doctor is to take some allergy medication and try to take it easy. The problem in this scenario is that maybe it is more than just allergies. Did the doctor hear about how the person's mother had lung cancer? Or what about the fact that the person has been losing weight and is just generally feeling tired? Or, what about their lifestyle choices? Are they at risk for cancer?

In our above example, a misdiagnosis of allergies -- when it was really cancer -- can obviously have very severe consequences for the patient, as it means a delay in potentially life-saving cancer treatment.

Of course, not all misdiagnoses involve cancer. But, as the study found, half of the misdiagnoses do have the potential to severely harm the patient. When this happens, a patient needs an advocate on their side, someone who will stand up for his or her rights and fight for fair compensation.

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Ben Schmitt

Attorney Ben Schmitt

Mr. Schmitt has over 25 years of legal experience in Missouri and Kansas, and he has been first chair in over 100 jury trials in state and federal courts. He is recognized by the Kansas City Business Journal, Super Lawyers, Avvo.com and Martindale Hubbell as one of the best personal injury lawyers in Missouri and Kansas.

Matt Mulhern

Attorney Matt Mulhern

Mr. Mulhern has over 25 years of legal experience and a 100 percent success rate arguing before the Missouri Court of Appeals. He has a unique knowledge of the inner workings of insurance companies and how they will dispute your injury claim. He practices in both Missouri and Kansas.