Nobody wants to have to visit their doctor, or to be admitted to hospital, but when we do, we trust them with our lives and accept the advice and information provided by them. Unfortunately, mistakes do happen and doctors, nurses, dentists and other health professionals can misdiagnose a condition. This could count as medical negligence, and you may be able to make a compensation claim for it.
What Types of Misdiagnosis Are There?
There are several types of diagnostic errors that can occur:
- Incorrect diagnosis - where you are misdiagnosed with the wrong illness. This could lead to the wrong treatment, which could be even more harmful.
- Failure to diagnose – where a condition is simply missed altogether and consequently receives no treatment.
- Late diagnosis – as well as suffering from your health condition for longer, both your recovery time and survival chances could be affected.
What Are the Top Misdiagnosed Conditions in the NHS?
The NHS Litigation Authority (NHS LA) – which handles all the claims brought against NHS hospitals – have carried out a study to find out what the most commonly misdiagnosed conditions in NHS hospitals are.
The latest statistics (from 2014/2015) below show the top five health issues that are most likely to be misdiagnosed:
- Fracture (29%)
- Cancer (14%)
- Tendon (6%)
- Scaphoid (5%)
- Hip (5%)
What Have Misdiagnosis Claims Cost The NHS?
The NHS LA uses only two misdiagnosis cause codes when collecting its information. These are ‘failure/delay diagnosis’ and ‘wrong diagnosis’.
In 2014/2015, successful ‘failure/delay diagnosis’ claims came to 1,136, totalling £185,032,609.53.
Successful ‘wrong diagnosis’ claims in the same period came to 150, totalling £12,232,785.26.
That means that, together, misdiagnosis – whether it’s wrong, failed or late – cost NHS hospitals a staggering £197.2million in 2014/2015.
Fast forward three years…. There were 1,789 cases in 2017-2018, meaning the number of successful cases has increased, but at a slower rate to the spiralling costs. Among these cases were 1,100 patients who suffered a delay or failure in treatment and 679 who were misdiagnosed or suffered a delay in being diagnosed (NHS LA).
What Are the Possible Consequences of Misdiagnosis?
These can include, but are not limited to:
- Loss of earnings
- Treatment costs
- Pain and suffering
- Reduction in life expectancy
- Care and assistance provided by family/friends/paid professionals
In turn, your medical misdiagnosis compensation claim will vary depending on certain factors. These can include the extent of ongoing illness or recovery time, and the severity of your misdiagnosis.
How Can Howells Help?
Here at Howells, we recognise the distressing and, in some cases fatal, effect that a misdiagnosis can have on you and your family. We understand the importance of compensation as it can significantly improve your quality of life and provide the security and care that is needed.
If you’ve been the victim of medical negligence in the form of a misdiagnosis, we’re with you all the way and will help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
Contact Howells today - our medical negligence compensation claim solicitors have a track record of success.