Seven women from Freeport, Illinois sued Dr. Farouk Y. Khan and the Freeport Health Network (FHN) with which he was affiliated for medical negligence. The women ranged from 39 years to 66 years in age and claimed the doctor misdiagnosed them with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2011 and 2012. According to the lawsuit, Dr. Khan misdiagnosed the seven women and ordered them to give themselves daily injections of Copaxone and Betaseron, two drugs used to reduce MS flare-ups. The plaintiffs were spending approximately $5,000 per month for their daily injections. One of the plaintiffs actually suffers from ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. The women are each seeking more than $50,000 in damages. The husband of one of the plaintiffs filed an independent lawsuit against Dr. Khan and FHN, seeking damages for loss of consortium.
Misdiagnoses Can Be Costly in Many Ways
We rely frequently on the expertise of medical professionals to accurately diagnose the illnesses and ailments of ourselves and our loved ones. We depend on medical professionals to provide us with sound treatment instructions so we or our loved ones can recover. A misdiagnosis occurs when a medical professional inaccurately assesses the patient’s condition. This is not to be confused with a doctor prescribing an appropriate treatment for an accurately-diagnosed condition that turns out not to work. In the latter case, no malpractice has occurred.
However, a doctor who improperly diagnoses an illness or disorder may have committed malpractice and be liable for damages. An inaccurate diagnosis can not only lead to costly and, ultimately, unhelpful medical treatments, but it can blind the medical professional and others who rely on his or her reports to other diseases or disorders that the patient may have. In such a case, not only would the patient be receiving treatment for a disorder he or she did not have, but he or she might not be receiving treatment for a disease or disorder actually present.
In Massachusetts, whether a misdiagnosis rises to the level of medical malpractice will depend on what a reasonable doctor in a similar situation would have done. If a reasonable doctor would have diagnosed the patient in the same manner as the medical professional, then no malpractice occurred. However, if a doctor fails to order certain standard tests, or if the doctor misreads tests and gives an inaccurate diagnosis, medical malpractice may have occurred.
Recovery is Available for the Injured Patient and His or Her Family
As the story from Freeport indicates, the injured patients may be able to recover damages for unnecessary medical treatments, lost wages, pain and suffering and loss of chance, if the patient’s chance at recovery was negatively impacted because of the misdiagnosis. A patient’s family can recover damages, too, if (as is the case in the Freeport incident) the misdiagnosis interferes with a patient’s familial relationships and responsibilities. After reviewing the facts of a particular case, an experienced medical malpractice attorney can discuss all the damages that are available to an injured patient and his or her family.Contact us today at (508) 755-7535 for a free consultation if you or a loved one have been injured by a medical professional’s negligence.