If I was misdiagnosed at the hospital for a broken toe but a second opinion showed an almost shattered toe, what can I do?

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If I was misdiagnosed at the hospital for a broken toe but a second opinion showed an almost shattered toe, what can I do?

The hospital told me, after X-rays, that my toe was sprained. With a second opinion using the same X-rays it was confirmed that my toe is broken. After an appointment today and new X-rays, they discovered my toe is in fact in several pieces. The doctor who diagnosed a sprained toe is the same doctor who diagnosed a ruptured appendix which was removed immediately. During the surgery, the surgeon noticed that this was not the problem at all but an issue with an ovarian cyst. My appendix was removed anyway. And now my insurance will only cover so much that we can’t afford the bill.

Asked on December 1, 2011 under Malpractice Law, Oregon

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If there is a misdiagnosis which causes you to incur *additional* costs--i.e. more costs than you would have incurred had the diagnosis been properly made in the first instance--you may be able to sue the medical practioner in malpractice for those additional costs. However, you can only recover the additional costs--and possibly also additional pain and suffering, and additional lost wages--which you suffered owing to the misdiagnosis; you cannot recover any costs or damges which you would have incurred no matter what.


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