Hypertension, which is also known as high blood pressure, is among the most commonly misdiagnosed medical conditions in the United States. This includes both (i) failing to accurately diagnose a patient’s hypertension, and (ii) incorrectly diagnosing a patient with hypertension when in fact the patient is either fine or suffering from a different medical condition.
In either scenario, the cost of a hypertension misdiagnosis can be substantial. If a doctor fails to diagnose a patient’s hypertension, the patient can go without the medication he or she needs, and this can have a wide range of consequences. If left untreated, hypertension can lead to an aneurysm, coronary artery disease, stroke, dementia, vision loss, sexual dysfunction, heart failure, kidney failure, and death. Patients who are misdiagnosed with hypertension can go on blood pressure medications for years. If they have a different medical condition that requires treatment the failure to treat this condition can potentially have wide-ranging effects as well.
So, why are hypertension misdiagnoses so common? Medical research points to three primary factors. These factors are:
In addition to these initial causes, failure to monitor is a factor in many hypertension misdiagnosis cases as well. Patients who have hypertension should visit their doctors regularly, and their doctors should continue to monitor their blood pressure to determine whether different medications and/or additional treatment are necessary.
Ongoing monitoring would also allow doctors to identify a prior hypertension misdiagnosis. However, many doctors do not conduct adequate monitoring during follow-up visits. Once they diagnose a patient with a particular condition many doctors do not remain open to the possibility that their initial diagnosis may have been incorrect.
If you believe that your doctor may have misdiagnosed your medical condition what should you do? Proving your hypertension misdiagnosis is important as this may afford the opportunity to recover financial compensation for your doctor’s mistake. A misdiagnosis is a form of medical malpractice and in cases of medical malpractice, patients can recover financial compensation for their medical expenses, medication costs, emotional trauma, and other financial and non-financial losses.
There are four primary steps involved in establishing a medical malpractice claim based on a hypertension misdiagnosis:
The first step is to obtain an accurate diagnosis of your medical condition. For this, you should see a new doctor at a new healthcare facility. You should explain why you have concerns about your current diagnosis and you should ask your new doctor to thoroughly screen for signs of hypertension (as well as any other medical conditions about which you may be concerned).
After obtaining an accurate diagnosis and receiving the appropriate medical treatment you should next focus on understanding what caused your misdiagnosis. In order to do this, you will need to engage an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Your attorney will be able to review your medical records and consult with experts to determine whether you have a claim against your original doctor.
If you received a misdiagnosis recovering financial compensation will involve proving that your original doctor failed to treat you with the appropriate standard of care. In most cases, this means showing that your doctor failed to accurately measure your blood pressure.
To accurately measure a patient’s blood pressure, doctors can use ambulatory blood pressure monitors that measure a patient’s blood pressure at regular intervals over a 12 to 24-hour period. These devices provide a much more accurate measurement than the traditional cuffs and they avoid the risk of both: (i) misdiagnosing whitecoat hypertension as a permanent or chronic condition and (ii) overlooking a patient’s condition due to masked hypertension.
The final step in proving your right to compensation is calculating the financial and non-financial cost of your hypertension misdiagnosis. This also requires experienced legal representation. Your attorney will look not only at the costs you have incurred to date but also the costs that you are reasonably likely to incur in the future to calculate the costs of your doctor’s mistake. With a clear picture of the financial and non-financial costs of your doctor’s mistake, your attorney can then pursue an appropriate claim for compensation on your behalf.
Are you concerned about a possible hypertension misdiagnosis? Has your current doctor confirmed that your prior doctor’s diagnosis was incorrect? If so, our Connecticut medical malpractice lawyers can help you seek the financial compensation you deserve. Contact us online to schedule a free consultation today.