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Legal Recourse After A Misdiagnosis

(credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - If you’ve been misdiagnosed, can you sue the doctor?

When a New Zealand couple received the awful diagnosis that the husband had terminal cancer, they sold their house, gave away his carpentry tools, cancelled their insurance, and travelled to Fiji and Australia in order to enjoy every moment they had left – which turned out to be a lot longer than they expected.

After wracking up 80,000 New Zealand dollars in debt, they found out the (un)happy news that he didn’t have cancer. Which raises the question: if you’re misdiagnosed, can you sue?

Sometimes.

First, did the misdiagnosis cause any actual harm – not by sparking your own stupidity – but did it cause you to undergo unnecessary treatment or worse, lose time in getting treatment that could otherwise have helped you? Second, would a different doctor who used good judgment and professional standards have made a correct diagnosis?

There are times when no doctor could have been expected to find the reason for your symptoms, and there are times when a misdiagnosis doesn’t cause harm. But in all situations, if you get a serious diagnosis always GO TO ANOTHER DOCTOR for a second opinion to avoid having to go to a lawyer in the first place.

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