Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can cause individuals to develop an overactive or hyper-protective immune system.An overactive immune system is likely to attack not only foreign pathogens, but healthy native systems as well. Essentially, the body attacks itself, which can lead to inflammation, organ failure, or even death.
Early diagnosis and treatment is key to successfully managing lupus. Unfortunately, lupus misdiagnosis is not uncommon. Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose can lead to further medical complications, as well as unnecessary financial losses. Medical malpractice attorney Gary Zucker works with those in the Brooklyn, NY, area who have experienced a lupus misdiagnosis, to hold negligent medical professionals accountable for related damages.
How Common Is Lupus Misdiagnosis?
A study conducted by the Lupus Foundation of America found that lupus misdiagnosis is much more common than most would expect. Of the over 3,000 adults with lupus who were included in the study, 46.5 percent reported that they were misdiagnosed with something other than lupus when they first began experiencing symptoms of this disease. Even more shocking, 54.1 percent report being told that there was nothing wrong with them, or that symptoms were psychological.
Causes of Lupus Misdiagnosis
Many of the most common symptoms of lupus, such as joint stiffness, inflammation, skin sores, rashes, weight fluctuations, chest pain, and depression, mimic symptoms of other diseases. If medical professionals are not familiar with lupus symptoms, or are not tracking symptoms to determine if patients display at least four lupus symptoms (the criteria necessary for a lupus diagnosis), the condition could easily be misdiagnosed, or doctors could fail to diagnose a condition at all.
Ultimately, lupus misdiagnosis is usually caused by:
- Neglect to take a patient’s symptoms seriously, or writing the symptoms off as psychological
- Neglect to order appropriate blood and/or antinuclear antibody tests
- Misinterpretation of diagnostic tests
Dangers of Misdiagnosis
Early diagnosis and treatment is key to preventing serious health complications, so lupus misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis can be very dangerous for our Brooklyn clients. Without treatment, lupus can lead to anemia, seizures, paralysis, organ failure, brain inflammation, or death.
In addition to the medical dangers of lupus misdiagnosis, there are other damages to consider. A delayed or misdiagnosis can cause:
- Delayed treatment or subjecting patients to the wrong treatment
- Need for additional and/or more invasive medical care
- Unnecessary medical expenses
- Additional time away from work
- Prolonged pain and suffering
Can I Sue for Medical Malpractice?
The question that most of our Brooklyn clients have following a lupus misdiagnosis is, “Can I sue for medical malpractice?” In many cases, the answer is yes. To substantiate a medical malpractice claim, the patient must be able to show that the treating medical professional failed to deliver care that met up to the accepted standard, or that which would have been delivered by another similarly trained medical professional.
Proving medical malpractice is complex, which is why it is so important for individuals to work with a knowledgeable attorney. Attorney Zucker and his team gather evidence, such as medical records and expert testimony, to demonstrate medical malpractice so that our clients can be compensated for the losses related to a lupus misdiagnosis.
Contact Zucker & Regev, P.C.
If you have suffered physical, emotional, and/or financial damages related to a lupus misdiagnosis, attorneys at Zucker & Regev, P.C., would be happy to examine the details of your situation to determine if there are grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. To schedule a personal consultation with our legal team, contact our law firm online, or call (718) 624-1211.