When is Misdiagnosis Considered Medical Malpractice in Iowa?

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Posted by Farl Greene

If you have recently suffered serious injury; or if a loved one has died as a result of a wrong, delayed, or completely missed diagnosis, you may have an Iowa medical malpractice case.

Types of Misdiagnosis for Iowa Malpractice Claims

There are a three types of misdiagnosis that can result in a medical malpractice claim:

1. Wrong diagnosis – the doctor says you have a disease or condition that you do not have.

2. Missed diagnosis – the doctor says you are healthy when actually you have a disease or condition.

3. Delayed diagnosis – the doctor eventually makes the right diagnosis, but takes too long to do so. Meanwhile, your condition worsens.

It is important to note that just because you were misdiagnosed does not mean that you have an Iowa medical malpractice case. Doctors can and do make mistakes in diagnosing patients all the time.  The human body is incredibly complex, and different diseases often have the same symptoms.

There are two main things your Iowa medical malpractice attorney must prove at trial:

1. That the doctor’s wrong/missed/delayed diagnosis of your condition was negligent.

2. That the doctor’s negligence caused you permanent harm.

How Can Your Iowa Medical Malpractice Lawyer Prove Negligence?

So when are a doctor’s actions negligent?

Negligence occurs when a doctor fails to do what a reasonably skilled doctor would have done under the same circumstances.  So it’s not just that your doctor made the wrong diagnosis – it’s that another competent doctor under the same circumstances would have made the correct one.

This can be difficult to prove and requires a deep understanding of medicine.  Which is why we recommend contacting an experienced medical malpractice lawyer who can look over your case and determine the next steps.

Because medicine is such a complex subject, only other medical experts can say whether or not a doctor committed malpractice.  These experts need to have the same knowledge and skill as the doctor who hurt you, so they can review your medical records and determine whether malpractice occurred.  An experienced lawyer will have relationships with potential medical experts and can decide which one is best for your case.

Pitfalls in Your Misdiagnosis Malpractice Case

Because medical malpractice can be so difficult to prove, there has to be obvious signs that the doctor was negligent AND that this negligence resulted in your permanent injury or a loved one’s death.  If one of these things cannot be proven, it’s unlikely a medical malpractice lawyer can help you.

For example, if your actual diagnosis was something that could not be cured or made better by treatment, then it doesn’t matter if there was a delay in diagnosis because a timely diagnosis wouldn’t have helped.

The best way to know if you have a case is to speak with an experienced Iowa medical malpractice lawyer.  If you would like more information, visit and download our free Law Guide to Iowa Medical Malpractice Claims.

Looking for Iowa Legal Help?

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