Can I get a doctor to pay medical expenses after missing a diagnosis?

UPDATED: May 29, 2012

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Can I get a doctor to pay medical expenses after missing a diagnosis?

My 72 year old mother went to her doctor complaining pain in the back and pelvis. He took X-rays but found nothing of concern. He did not order any additional tests and sent her home with pain meds and muscle relaxers. Less than 2 month later, she called me because she was in so much pain that she could not get up to go to the bathroom. I helped her, then took her to the ER. A few days, and many tests, later, we were told that she had stage 4 bladder cancer, that had spread into her pelvis, spine, ribs and skull. They also found that she had a fractured pelvis. She died 5 weeks later.

Asked on May 29, 2012 under Malpractice Law, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Malpractice is the provision of medical care that does not meet generally accepted standards of care. If a doctor misses a diagnosis or makes a wrong diagnosis when the average reasonable doctor should have diagnosed correctly, that could be malpractice. If there was malpractice, your mother's estate (or anyone who paid medical costs on her behalf) could potententially sue for additional costs they incurred due to the misdiagnosis, which costs would not have been incurred had the diagnosis been made correctly. It may also be possible for your mother's estate or you as her child to maintain a wrongful death claim, if the misdiagnosis sped her passing. It would be worthwhile to meet with experienced medical malpractice counsel.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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