Misdiagnosis occurs when a health care provider either does not properly diagnose or fails completely to diagnose a patient’s medical condition. Unfortunately, if the condition is serious enough, it may result in what is known as wrongful death. Wrongful death is when the death of a patient can be attributed to the health care provider’s misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose.
An example of failure to diagnose leading to wrongful death can be seen in a recent medical malpractice case in Virginia, where a wrongful death lawsuit resulted in a $1.3 million verdict for the plaintiffs, who in this case were the widow and two children of a man who they alleged had died a wrongful death. Learn more below.
The man had decided to have a knee replacement in 2008. He went to a surgeon, who asked that he see his primary care physician for a pre-op examination to verify that he was healthy enough for surgery. This examination included a chest x-ray. This exam, including chest x-ray was performed in 2009, and again in 2010, as part of a second pre-op exam.
Allegedly, both chest x-rays showed a mass in the man’s left lung, and the radiologist’s report recommended that further evaluation was needed. However, neither the surgeon nor the primary care physician followed up on the report, according to the medical malpractice lawsuit.
Both the surgeon and the primary care physician claimed that due to a mix up at the pre-op testing center, neither of them were provided with the results of the chest x-rays. Therefore, they claimed they were not responsible to review the results of the x-rays, and that they be dismissed from the medical malpractice case. However, a judge denied this request in November 2014, and signed off on the $1.3 million medical malpractice settlement in April.