What do I do? Who is held responsible?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What do I do? Who is held responsible?

I’m 29 and was diagnosed with Mixed Connective Tissue Disease among other things when I was 16. Ive had many complications over the years but recently I’ve had to undergo surgery twice within a year and my right hip was found to be tilted and rotated after my first surgery. My chiropractor found it and I’ve been telling my doctors about it ever since and not one is addressing it. Now I’m having other medical complications as a result such as bulging and herniated discs, my body is deformed from the tilt/rotation and has made me very self conscious. What do I do? The doctors have straight up told me last year that they don’t believe me and think I need help coping. Now because they didn’t believe me and did nothing, my body is deformed, my bladder doesn’t empty all the way, bowel movements are difficult, among many many many other


Asked on July 15, 2019 under Malpractice Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

A doctor who misdiagnosed you, if the misdiagnosis can be shown to have caused or contributed to you disability or otherwise caused you harm (there must be a causal link; without causation, malpractice is irrelevant) would be responsible. A bad diagnosisis or misdiagnosis is a form of malpractice, or unreasonably careless medical treatment. So a doctor who made the wrong diagnosis, if that diagnosis either held up treatment or led to the wrong treatment, could be liable. 
But to hold them liable, you'll have to sue for malpractice. Malpractice suits are expensive and long--a lawyer will not take one unless they are certain of being paid--that is, unless you pay a lot on an hourly basis, or unless they consider the suit very easy or certain to prove, so they are willing to front the costs and take 1/3 (or so) of the money you get on the back-end. You need either the ability to pay tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket for legal representation, or a case that your lawyers think is very straightforward and strong so they will be willing to risk taking it on "contingency", in order to get a lawyer interested.
Even if you were to try to be your own attorney ("pro se"--which is NOT recommended for something as complex as a malpractice suit), you will spend several thousand dollars on "expert testimony"--that is, on hiring one or more medical experts (e.g. doctors) to examine you and your medical records, in order to write up a report and testify in court. The need for medical experts to prove your case--as you undoubtedly understand, your opinion, as a layperson, does not establish that a doctor was careless or wrong--is part of what drives the expense of malpractice cases.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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