If a doctor misdiagnoses a condition for your newborn, creating significant stress for you as a parent, you may wonder if you can sue your doctor for emotional distress due to a failure to diagnose. You do have the right to file a medical malpractice lawsuit to recover medical bills and pain and suffering compensation in a case like this.
However, you do need to prove a few things to have a case that qualifies as a medical malpractice lawsuit, giving you a chance to recover the damages you are seeking. Once you can prove those things, you do have the opportunity to seek an emotional distress settlement amount as part of the lawsuit.
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Failure to Diagnose
When a doctor makes an error regarding a diagnosis of an injury or condition for your baby, this is considered a failure to diagnose. According to a National Academy of Medicine study, about 5 percent of adults receive a mistaken diagnosis from a doctor each year in outpatient care.
And if children or babies are forced to see a doctor who does not normally treat children, it is possible that the doctor could misdiagnose the baby’s illness, because he or she is applying the symptoms to how they would affect an adult rather than a child.
The Danger of a Misdiagnosis
Should a baby’s condition be misdiagnosed, this could result in a potentially dangerous situation for the baby for a few reasons, including:
- Lack of treatment: the baby’s illness is never diagnosed, meaning he or she receives no treatment for it, allowing it to increase in severity unchecked.
- Delayed treatment: the doctor misses an illness during an initial exam only to discover it later, leading to a delay in applying treatment, which could create a significantly more dangerous condition.
- Wrong treatment: the doctor misdiagnoses the actual illness as another illness and orders treatment for that incorrect illness, which could actually lead to harm for the baby’s health, which is potentially even more serious than the initial illness that was missed.
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As part of the misdiagnosis, the parents and other family members could experience a significant amount of stress as they worry about the health of the baby. This stress is related to the doctor’s error. Had the doctor properly diagnosed the baby, it is possible that the parents would not have worried as much, and the emotional distress would not have happened.
Signs of Emotional Distress
To prove that you suffered emotional distress related to the diagnosis error regarding your baby, you need to be able to show that you have suffered mental trauma. Some of the signs of emotional distress include:
- Depression: the victim does not enjoy the same activities he or she enjoyed before the diagnosis error occurred.
- Problems sleeping: the victim struggles to fall asleep because of worry or has nightmares that interrupt sleep.
- Inability to focus: the victim struggles to function at work because he or she cannot maintain focus on tasks.
- Anxiety: the victim constantly feels nervous or uneasy, creating both mental and physical problems.
- Anger: the victim lashes out at others or becomes angry for no understandable reason.
Receiving Compensation for Emotional Distress
In any kind of personal injury lawsuit or claim, such as a medical malpractice claim, emotional distress can be part of the award the victim receives.
To receive an award for emotional distress, you will have to prove that the doctor acted negligently, leading to the missed diagnosis for the baby and the mental trauma you suffered.
Proving negligence involves using the facts in the case to show that, if the doctor had taken a different action, the misdiagnosis could have been avoided. Negligence can involve a purposeful act, but the act does not need to have been purposeful for you to receive a settlement in a medical malpractice case.
Let Us Help You Defend Your Right to Seek Damages
Even though the majority of doctors do an excellent job of taking care of patients, occasionally, the doctor makes an error that results in significant physical harm, emotional distress, or both for the patient and family. So, you can sue your doctor for emotional distress due to a failure to diagnose.
There are multiple ways a doctor could misdiagnose an injury for your baby. After receiving the right diagnosis, you may be so happy to find out the truth that you may not consider a lawsuit seeking damages for your emotional distress.
However, by bringing a lawsuit, you may be able to prevent this same problem from happening to other parents and newborns. For a free review of your case, call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 222-9529. Our team can give you advice about the chances of having a successful outcome in your medical malpractice lawsuit.