It's that time of year again when everybody seems to be sick, and the 2020 flu season is already shaping up to be a rough one. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there have already been 1,300 people killed by the disease during 219 — and many others have suffered life-altering complications and injuries.
That's why it's so important that you seek medical treatment at the first sign of the flu. Even if you have been vaccinated against the flu, it's important to remember that new strains are constantly emerging and the flu can be serious if it isn't treated.
What happens, however, if you head to the doctor with symptoms and get brushed off or misdiagnosed? If you suffer serious injuries as a result, you may have a case for a medical malpractice claim.
How Can the Flu Be the Cause of Medical Malpractice Claim?
The fact that a disease is common doesn't mean that a doctor can't be liable for malpractice for misdiagnosing it. In fact, if anything, the fact that the flu is so common helps cement the idea that a competent doctor should know to look for those symptoms and know how to diagnosis the condition correctly.
If your doctor mistook your flu symptoms for a head cold, bronchitis, or maybe even something like gastroenteritis, you likely won't receive the kind of treatment you need. You may end up in the hospital and forced to endure a lengthy recovery period during which you're unable to work. Many people have their health permanently destroyed by a bad case of the flu.
What Leads to the Misdiagnosis of the Flu?
Most of the time, misdiagnoses don't happen because a doctor is inept and unable to provide the right standard of care to their patients. Instead, misdiagnoses of the flu happen for the same reason any other misdiagnosis might occur:
- The doctor fails to take a complete and accurate medical history from the patient (or fails to review the history taken by the nurse).
- The doctor relies solely on testing to decide treatment while ignoring symptoms that clearly indicate that the test may be in error.
- The doctor just dismisses the patient's symptoms or decides that the patient isn't as sick as he or she claims.
- The doctor simply rushes through the office visit too quickly to accurately observe the patient's symptoms and make the proper diagnosis.
If you believe that your doctor missed the obvious signs that you had the flu and you suffered significant damage as a result, talk to a medical negligence attorney about your right to compensation.