In the current uncertain state of the world amid the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, some patients are suffering the effects of misdiagnoses. A doctor could misdiagnose COVID-19 as something else, such as the seasonal flu, or vice versa. A doctor could also make the mistake of failing to diagnose a patient who has the coronavirus, allowing that person to continue interacting with others and potentially spread the virus. A doctor could negligently delay a patient’s diagnosis of COVID-19 and fail to give the patient the treatments he or she needs in a timely manner. In other cases, lab tests could show false negatives. If you are the victim of any type of misdiagnosis in relation to the coronavirus, learn your rights with the help of an Omaha personal injury lawyer.
Issues With Coronavirus Diagnoses
Misdiagnosis is a question arising in connection with coronavirus cases specifically due to confirmed issues with laboratory tests and misinformation regarding the virus. For example, it took weeks for researchers to confirm that it could take 5 days for coronavirus symptoms to arise (the average is 12 days). The flu has similar symptoms and an incubation period of one to four days. Therefore, thousands of patients who visited their doctors before the release of this information might have been sent home with COVID-19 misdiagnosed as the flu.
Other coronavirus-related diagnosis problems have to do with inaccurate laboratory tests. Some reports show patients with the virus testing negative repeatedly (up to six times) using laboratory tests. False negative results for the coronavirus could prevent a patient from obtaining proper medical care. It could also increase the risk of the patient spreading the virus to others while believing he or she does not have COVID-19. Even a small number of false negative lab tests could increase the spread of the virus throughout the population. Other patients have been unable to obtain coronavirus tests at all due to technical difficulties and medical equipment supply shortages.
When Is Misdiagnosis Medical Malpractice?
It is important to learn when a doctor’s misdiagnosis of the coronavirus would and would not be medical malpractice. Medical malpractice is a legal term describing any action or omission a prudent physician would not have committed under the same or similar circumstances. To prove a medical malpractice claim, you or your attorney will have to establish three main elements through a preponderance of the evidence. Your lawyer must show three things to be more likely true than not true.
- You and the doctor had a professional relationship. The physician who misdiagnosed you in relation to COVID-19 must have been your health care provider at the time. An unofficial diagnosis by a friend who is also a doctor, for example, will not establish the same duties of care.
- The doctor breached the duties of care owed to you as a patient. The physician must be guilty of a breach of the duty of care under medical industry standards, such as negligently failing to administer a coronavirus test when you were presenting symptoms.
- The breach of duty caused the damages in question. Finally, your physician must show that you have compensable damages (e.g. medical bills or lost wages) and that these are a direct result of the physician’s misdiagnosis related to the coronavirus.
If you believe your incident fulfills these three requirements, you might have grounds for a medical malpractice claim in Nebraska. A successful lawsuit could pay you and your family for damages related to the misdiagnosis, such as medical care, lost income, physical pain, emotional suffering and the wrongful death of a loved one. Contact an attorney to discuss your potential misdiagnosis suit in more detail. Many attorneys are offering online consultations and providing legal services virtually during the pandemic to keep clients safe. Initial consultations are often free, so you can discuss your legal rights as an injured patient at no risk.