What can I do if I have a blood clot that started in my leg but then transferred to my lungs and causing damage to my heart due to a misdiagnosis?

It wasn’t caught before it went to my lungs due to my primary care doctor misdiagnosed my condition in my leg, stating that I didn’t need an ultrasound or any medical treatment for my leg, I have to take medication for about 3 – 6 months to remove these clots.

Asked on August 12, 2014 under Malpractice Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

IF the doctor's misdiagnosis was negligent, or careless (see below), then it may have been malpractice; if it was malpractice, you may be able to recover compensation for additional (including future) medical costs (like additional tests, the medication, etc.), for lost wages or reduce future earning potential (if any), and for "pain and suffering" if there is long-lasting or permanent damage diminishing your quality of life in a signficant way or otherwise causing long-lasting or permanent disability or impairment.

The issue is whether the misdiagnosis was essentially, careless; not all misdiagnosises are malpractice, because medicine is still as much an art as a science, our medical knowledge is imperfect, and some symptoms can have many causes. The law accepts that sometimes the doctor does everything right and the patient still has a bad outcome, and does not penalize the doctor for that.

So if the average reasonable doctor *should* have done further tests or performed treatment for your leg, then this may be malpractice; in that case, your doctor gave you medical care falling short of then-current standards of care. But if the average doctor or standard of care in a case like this would have done what your doctor did, then most likely, your doctor did nothing wrong and there  is no liability. You will need some number or amount of other medical opinions to determine if your doctor fell short of the standard of care or not.


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