Can I sue a doctor who failed to diagnose me with AIDS? 17 Answers as of February 21, 2012

When I went to a 2nd emergency room I was told I have AIDS, I went to a another emergency room about a week or two earlier and the doctor on call told me it was a bug going around. I don't have insurance and feel she just wanted me out of there. I was not admitted but charged for a misdiagnosis. Can I sue her for malpractice since she sent me home and I almost died? I lost over 20 lbs and if it was not for a co-worker stopping by and taking me to a different hospital, I would have died.

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Ramunno & Ramunno, P.A.
Ramunno & Ramunno, P.A. | Lawrence A. Ramunno
You can sue but it will be a difficult case.
Answer Applies to: Delaware
Replied: 6/10/2011
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
The legislature has made medical malpractice very difficult and expensive. Although we have an excellent legal system with multiple checks and balances, the propaganda is that it is out of control. I try cases. I know the propaganda is false and funded by companies that profit by avoiding liability even when they are responsible, often times shifting the expense to the government and me and my fellow taxpayers. Subject to this caveat, you would need an emergency room doctor to attest that the misdiagnosis was a breach of the standard of care AND that it caused you damage, which is your tough part, as you already had the disease. The analysis is economic in the end, as civil courts deal in money. If your expert could attest that your condition became so much worse that it has increased your required care or dramatically shortened your expected life span then you may find a lawyer to help you. If not, the economics will prevent you from finding counsel on a contingent basis. You could always find one to work on an hourly basis, as long as there is a viable claim. Stay well.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 6/9/2011
Law Offices of Earl K. Straight
Law Offices of Earl K. Straight | Earl K. Straight
Although technically you may have a claim for misdiagnosis, your bigger issue is your lack of damages. You cant sue for what almost happened or what might have happened, only for your actual damages, which in this case would be what you went through for the 7-14 day period until you were properly diagnosed. Due to the high cost and high risk of medical malpractice litigation, you will probably have a difficult time finding an attorney willing to handle this type of claim.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 6/9/2011
Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates
Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates | Lyle B. Masnikoff
You may have a medical malpractice case but there may not been enough damages from a 2 week misdiagnosis to pursue a claim. Call a medical malpractice attorney.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 6/9/2011
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
You almost died in the span of a week or so? You can always sue for misdiagnosis of course. The problems you have are: you have to prove the fact of misdiagnosis by medical testimony (where is your friendly doctor?) then you have to prove that whatever you suffered during the time was not as a result of AIDS but as a result of misdiagnosis. If you would have suffered anyway then you have no damages so your case would be gutted. Welcome to the Obama world of new medical ethics. Things will probably get worse as doctors are pressed to do more with less as they surely are being forced to do now and will be forced to do more in the future
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 6/9/2011
    Wilson & Hajek, LLC
    Wilson & Hajek, LLC | Eddie W. Wilson
    Yes,, but your damages would be limited to the harm caused by the failure to diagnose at the initial visit.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 6/9/2011
    Allen Murphy Law
    Allen Murphy Law | W. Riley Allen
    You don't necessarily have much of a case that a competent lawyer wants to handle. You have no case that any competent malpractice lawyer would handle. I've been handling malpractice cases for 25 years (considered one of the best in the country) and I would not take this case. The delay made no difference in your status medically.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    Since you caught it in time, you cannot sue. You can sue for damages that actually occurred, but not for what might have happened. While you may have some damages, they would be insufficient to sue for malpractice.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Daniel Hoarfrost, Attorney at Law
    Daniel Hoarfrost, Attorney at Law | Daniel Hoarfrost
    A failure to diagnose can be a basis for malpractice. It just depends on all the circumstances.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Kirshner & Groff
    Kirshner & Groff | Richard M. Kirshner
    You can sue anybody. If his misdiagnosis did not cause you significant additional permanent injury you probably don't have much of a claim.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A.
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A. | Christopher J. Roberts
    I am sorry that you are dealing with this diagnosis, and a possible medical mistake to boot. Doctors are held to a reasonable standard of professional care. If their actions fall below that standard of care and the patient suffers an injury, a malpractice claim exists. But the law does not require doctors to be perfect. Whether the doctor had a duty to test you for AIDS and/or fell below the standard of care for failing to do so, would have a lot to do with the specific circumstances of your visit. For example, did you disclose that you had risk factors? What symptoms were you experiencing at the time. Was there anything else in particular that should have alerted to the doctor to consider AIDS as an explanation for your symptoms. Not every person who sees a doctor for flu-like symptoms wants to or expects to be tested for AIDS, so doctors need to use some discretion. Another potential problem in bringing a malpractice case is proving damages. While you have suffered temporarily due to the week or two delay in receiving a correct diagnosis, it may be difficult to prove that such a delay had a major effect on your long-term condition. What "could have" happened if you had not gone back to the hospital a week or two later is not something for which the law permits recovery. You need to prove that you suffered significant injury. A classic example would be a failure to diagnose cancer. A one week delay in receiving a correct diagnosis would rarely make a difference in terms of survivability. But a one year delay could easily result in the cancer spreading and causing a person to lose the opportunity for life-saving treatment. If your current doctors are telling you that the one or two week delay caused you to decline significantly and caused you significant long-term harm as a result, you may have a case. The bottom line is that more information is needed to fully answer your question. Most medical malpractice lawyers will give you a free initial consultation. I urge you to seek out an attorney in your area to explore the potential for bringing a case. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/21/2012
    Wilson & Hajek,LLC, a personal injury law firm
    Wilson & Hajek,LLC, a personal injury law firm | Francis Hajek
    Medical malpractice in Virginia is a field of law that requires careful analysis of the medical records. There must also be a sufficient amount of damages to make the case economically viable. You need to contact a lawyer to go over your case.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Law Office of Travis Prestwich, PC
    Law Office of Travis Prestwich, PC | Travis Prestwich
    Possibly. First of all, I am sorry to hear about your diagnosis and what you have been through already. You would have to prove that the negligence, if any, of the alleged diagnosis make a significant difference in that week or two's time. Malpractice cases are both expensive and very difficult. For that reason, it may be very challenging to find an attorney to take your case on based on those facts.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    Since you got proper treatment in time it appears doubtful but you may want to consult with an attorney in your area.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
    It doesn't sound like you have the damages necessary for the investment in a medical malpractice case. If you "almost died" then you don't have any damages to speak of other than "almost dying"......if you suffered any permanent injury as a result of the delay in the diagnosis, then you may wish to consult with a lawyer who has handled health care malpractice.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Rose, Senders & Bovarnick, LLC
    Rose, Senders & Bovarnick, LLC | Paul S. Bovarnick
    Medical negligence cases are very difficult. However, if the doctor either ignored clear evidence of your illness, or failed to perform tests that all doctors would have performed and you suffered permanent injuries, you may have a claim. You should speak to a lawyer for more information.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/8/2011
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