Michigan physicians, like many individuals, are not perfect, but an honest misdiagnosis may nonetheless result in significant and long-term damages. In the case of a 26-year-old woman who visited a doctor as a child, however, a court discovered years later that he intentionally misdiagnosed her with epilepsy, as reported by the Detroit Free Press.
During the time of the misdiagnosis, the doctor advised his young patient that test results from an EEG revealed abnormalities in her brain waves. Four years after being under his care and taking seizure medication that also caused sluggishness, she saw a different physician who tested her and stated she had normal EEG test results. Over a decade later, a court discovered that the first doctor’s misdiagnosis of epilepsy had been intentional, and that he had also misdiagnosed hundreds of other patients with the disorder.
Misdiagnosing patients for financial gain
From the time he began working as a pediatric neurologist in 1999, the doctor reportedly generated bonuses worth nearly $220,000 for meeting certain targets in billing patients for epilepsy treatment. The jurors found him negligent regarding his practice, and also found the hospital that employed him negligent in supervising him. As a result, the jury awarded the 26-year-old woman $3 million in damages.
Obtaining a second opinion
An examination by two different physicians may result in contradicting evaluations, but the discovery of a serious misdiagnosis starts with a second opinion. According to The Atlantic magazine, consulting with another medical practitioner may help sooth suspicions that a doctor intentionally misdiagnosed a patient. In cases where bodily harm or damage occurs as a result of a misdiagnosis, unintentional or otherwise, an individual has the right to pursue a medical malpractice legal action against the physician and his or her employer.