I was an RN and suffered serious and permanent harm from my cancer surgery. There were many errors, including my waking up during surgery, life-threatening infection, internal sutures that did not dissolve, renal failure, a collapsed lung after hospital discharge, abscesses and wound dehiscence. Years later, I am homebound and unable to work. I would be making $80-100,000/year now or more but am stuck barely above poverty on Social Security Disability. Since I and the various insurances have spent over $2 million for my care, and I do not have enough money to obtain all the care and medications I need, I am very unhappy. I have a potential new abscess now. It is a living horror, and the cancer may return. I am always in pain. No attorney would take my case. Even the failure to diagnose the cancer for years, with facts right there for every doctor I went to with my symptoms, isn't actionable. I am however, alive.

For example, John Smith went to his local doctor because he had a black spot on his foot and his leg was painful.  His doctor sent him to a surgeon who suggested a special procedure using a needle inserted into his leg artery to see whether the veins in John’s foot were blocked.  The surgeon botched the procedure and John’s artery was damaged.  Several weeks later John’s leg had to be amputated.  When John consulted a lawyer and the lawyer investigated his claim, the lawyer found that John’s original foot condition was gangrene and he was always going to have to have his leg amputated, so the surgeon’s negligence in performing the procedure did not leave John worse off than he would otherwise have been and he fails the test of causation.
Florida Standard Jury Instruction 501.2 states that, “there is no exact standard for measuring such damage. The amount should be fair and just in the light of the evidence.” Because even the Florida Standard Jury Instruction recognizes that there is no exact standard for measuring non-economic damages, it’s absolutely critical that the presentation of pain and suffering damages at trial is done in a manner that the jury can easily understand and can award you compensation accordingly.
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Because emotional distress cannot be seen or objectively quantified, it may be harder to get money for this type of injury compared to, for example, a broken arm. In many cases, emotional distress is part of a harassment case, such as sexual harassment or another form of workplace harassment. A medical misdiagnosis may cause emotional distress, as well.
If the medical incident that injured you occurred at a hospital, such as with a botched surgery or a post-operative infection, then you must inform the hospital as well. This will launch an internal investigation into the incident. When you contact the hospital, you should also inform them that you want to be included in the investigation. They should contact you about providing your side of the story on the record. This can also help with later litigation as the hospital may uncover evidence during this investigation.
After meeting the notice requirements and other prerequisites, depending upon the jurisdiction an injured patient may be able to file a lawsuit against the doctor. In order to prove the doctor negligent and that he or she committed malpractice, the accident victim must first be able to show that the doctor breached the duty of care owed to the patient.
In most states, first responders in a medical emergency situation (such as an EMT or a firefighter) are protected from lawsuits unless the first responder does something reckless or intentional. This protection for first responders does not apply to emergency rooms in hospitals, although in some states an emergency room doctor must act with gross negligence to be held liable for harm that occurs before the patient is stabilized.
Some of the most commonly misdiagnosed diseases are heart attacks and blood clots, infections or tumors. Misdiagnosis can delay treatment and can even be fatal. Mistakes are shockingly common when medication is administered, and surgical mistakes happen way too often. Sometimes doctors operate on the wrong body part, or on the wrong person entirely! The same formula above can be useful in trying to calculate the value of your medical malpractice case.
Calitz explains that to bring a successful medical malpractice claim, you need to prove that the treatment you received deviated from a particular “standard of care”, and that it was the deviation (which can be an act or omission) from this standard that resulted in harm. The “standard of care” is defined as what a reasonably prudent medical provider would or would not have done under the same or similar circumstances.
“There are no easy answers, but there are a number of practical steps that can bring stability to an ailing industry,” he says. “In my view, mediation is one of the best options we have available to us and it should be promoted and embraced (by plaintiffs and defendants) more widely. Mediation is inherently a process of reconciliation as opposed to litigation, which is adversarial (and unpleasant).
3. Finally, hospitals with specialized capabilities or facilities (e.g., burn units, specialized cardiac care units) must accept transfer patients from other hospitals if the specialized hospital has the capacity to treat them. This provision of EMTALA stops reverse dumping, where specialized hospitals won’t take indigent patients from other hospitals.
If you think you’ve been a victim of medical negligence at a hospital, you should speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. The statute of limitations, or the legal timeframe in which one can bring a medical negligence suit, begins once the injury is known or should have been known. The Florida statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is generally 2 years-absent some exceptions that can extend the period up to 4 years or 8 years for infants.
In a handful of states, the court sets (or at least can consider the reasonableness of) the percentage that a plaintiff’s medical malpractice lawyer can receive after a successful case. For example, in Arizona, either party may request that the court review the reasonableness of an attorney fee agreement in a medical malpractice case.   And in Tennessee, the court itself sets the amount that the attorney will receive, and the lawyer's "cut" may not exceed 33 and 1/3 percent.
Inconsistency in one’s complaints can be a sign that the injured person is making something up. If, for example, someone with a back injury tells Doctor A one day that he/she is having pain down the left leg, tells Doctor B another day that the pain is down the right leg, and tells physical therapist C another day that he/she has never had pain down either leg, that person is going to have a hard time convincing anyone that he/she is having pain anywhere.
Halifax lawyer John McKiggan, author of Health Scare, argues that the reasons for poor outcomes in medical procedures are often kept hidden. McKiggan cites the 2004 Canadian Adverse Events Study that found that 70,000 of the 185,000 adverse effects suffered annually by hospital patients are potentially preventable. Between 9,250 and 23,750 patients die annually from preventable errors, involving doctors and other health practitioners.

Alternatively, the amount of pain and suffering a person experiences can be valued based on the amount, frequency, and duration, of medical care, treatment, or medication, the person needs to recover and get by. Additionally, permanent injuries, including disfigurements, or severe injuries that upend a person’s life, will often correspond to higher awards for pain and suffering.
As this article suggests, there is not really a simple answer to whether someone can sue a doctor for misdiagnosis.  There are many variables in the world of healthcare, and every situation is unique.  With that said, as a patient, you do have certain legal rights when it comes to the care that you receive.  Further, you do not have to simply accept that an error occurred without asking questions or learning more about protecting yourself.
A doctor has to tell you about your condition, the nature of the proposed treatment, the risks of the treatment, and other options that you may have. You can’t consent to treatment unless the doctor gives you all this information. A doctor does not have to explain every possible risk, just the risks that a reasonable patient would want to know before deciding on treatment. This includes explaining what could happen and the likelihood of it happening.
Your lawyer will decide whether or not to pursue your case against the hospital.  If the lawyer takes the case, he will then need to retain an expert medical doctor to submit an affidavit detailing how the treatment was below the standard of care, and how that departure from the standard of care led to an injury.   The case will then go through the pre suit process, which is a 90 day period during which the hospital investigates the claim.  At the conclusion of the presuit period the hospital can deny the claim, or accept responsibility.  Often times the parties will agree to mediate the case during the presuit period, and this often results in a settlement.  If the case does not settle during presuit, the lawyer will then file a complaint of medical negligence against the hospital. This is where the work really begins.
I fear misdiagnosis cases a lot. This is particularly because of the statute of limitations and its unforgiving nature in situations like this. Whereas there are exceptions in the statute of limitations for continuing treatment of that condition (which once misdiagnosed, that isn’t the case anymore) and the foreign object discover rule, in misdiagnosis cases these exceptions don’t work. More importantly, if a doctor misdiagnoses the condition, that mistake might not manifest itself until after the statute of limitations expires! Meaning, the patient cannot sue!
The patient must also prove that the doctor's negligent misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis caused the patient's injury or condition to progress beyond where it normally would have -- had the correct diagnose been made in a timely manner -- and that this progression had a negative impact upon treatment. For example, because of a delayed cancer diagnosis the patient had to undergo a more severe treatment regimen (such as chemotherapy) or the patient died because the cancer had metastasized and no longer responded to treatment. Sometimes a patient can show harm even if the condition can still be treated. For example, with some cancers a delay in treatment increases the risk of recurrence.
He had an infection plus an additional complication: His intestines had knuckled under beneath his skin. Ten days after the transplant, doctors operated again, removing 15 inches of dying intestine from Ciccotelli's gut and scraping out the infection. The hospital, which declined to comment for this story, didn't charge him for the clean-up procedures.

Others may be responsible—if a doctor delegates work to someone else, the doctor may still be legally responsible for the work. If a doctor leaves a patient in the care of another doctor, both doctors may be responsible. If an inexperienced intern performs the duties of a doctor, the intern has to give the same medical care the doctor would give. But a doctor can rely on the employees of a medical facility and expect that they’ll meet the standard of care required in their jobs. So if a doctor leaves proper instructions with a nurse who doesn’t follow them, the nurse, not the doctor, may be responsible. Or both may be. If a person is harmed by the negligence of another healthcare professional, they can sue that professional. They can also file a complaint with the regulatory body for that profession. For example, the College of Registered Nurses of BC licenses nurses. The Emergency Medical Assistant Licensing Board licenses paramedics.
Expert witnesses, copies of medical records, deposition and witness fees, medical exams -- all of these things cost money. And if you lose your case, you could very well be on the hook for thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in expenses - depending on your legal fee agreement. Is your case important enough to you that you feel the potential financial benefit outweighs the risk?
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