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Suing Over A Misdiagnosis

(Photo by Joe Raedle/ Getty Images)

(Photo by 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?

After a Lexington, Kentucky man was diagnosed HIV positive 9 years ago, he immediately started treatment with powerful drugs and had relationships only with HIV positive individuals. But when he applied for disability benefits recently he was denied because, it turns out, he doesn’t have the disease.

Wow. That stinks. Not the not having HIV. That’s awesome. He’s so happy, he’s suing the doctor and hospital. And he’ll probably win. But just because you’re misdiagnosed doesn’t mean you can automatically sue.

First, you need to know whether the misdiagnosis caused any actual harm like causing 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.