CALL (800) 863-5312 to speak with a lupus medical malpractice lawyer for free.
When you go to the doctor to diagnose what may be causing symptoms of illness, you expect your doctor to make an accurate diagnosis and treat your illness or injury. Unfortunately, many diseases may be difficult to identify, especially if your doctor fails to meet the applicable standard of care while treating you. Autoimmune diseases are no exception, and lupus is one of the most misdiagnosed autoimmune diseases.
Unfortunately, a lupus misdiagnosis can seriously impact your quality of life, and it you are the victim of a lupus misdiagnosis, you may be wondering what to do next. If your doctor misdiagnosed your lupus or incorrectly diagnosed you with lupus, call Zinda Law Group today at (800) 863-5312 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer near you. If we cannot win your case, you owe us nothing.
What is lupus?
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), or lupus as it is commonly called, is an autoimmune disease that can negatively affect victims in a variety of ways all over the body. Left untreated, lupus can cause many dangerous effects for a victim as the person’s immune system becomes hyperactive and overprotective. Someone with lupus will often experience their immune system beginning to attack their healthy tissues and cells.
The Lupus Foundation of America estimates that at least 5 million people across the world and approximately 1.5 million people in the United States suffer from some form of lupus. While lupus primarily affects women of childbearing age, with about ninety percent of people living with lupus being women, this autoimmune disease can also affect men, teenagers, and children. Most patients with lupus will generally develop the disease between the ages of 15 to 44.
Meanwhile, there are four different types of lupus:
The most common form of lupus, systemic lupus, makes up approximately seventy percent of all diagnosed cases of lupus. About half of systemic lupus cases will involve major organs or tissue in the victim’s body being affected by the lupus, such as the lungs, heart, brain, or kidneys.
A less common type of lupus, drug-induced lupus, only makes up about ten percent of all lupus cases and is generally caused by receiving high doses of certain medications. While the symptoms of drug-induced lupus are similar to systemic lupus, the symptoms of drug-induced lupus will typically go away once you stop taking these medications.
Cutaneous lupus also makes up about ten percent of all diagnosed lupus cases. This form of lupus only affects the victim’s skin.
Finally, neonatal lupus is the rarest form of lupus. Neonatal lupus is caused when the mother’s antibodies harm the fetus. With neonatal lupus, the baby may experience liver problems, a skin rash, or low blood cell counts at birth. However, these symptoms will usually completely disappear after about six months, and the baby will typically not experience any lasting effects of the neonatal lupus.
If your doctor failed to properly identify and diagnose one of these types of lupus as affecting you, your medical malpractice lawyer may be able to help you determine whether you may be entitled to any compensation.
Common symptoms of lupus
Every case of lupus will often be unique in terms of which symptoms or signs of lupus may develop or appear, and whether these symptoms are permanent or only temporary. Some of the most common signs of lupus include:
- Joint pain, swelling, and stiffness
- Shortness of breath
- Headaches, memory loss, and confusion
- Mouth or nose ulcers
- Chest pain
- Skin lesions that may appear or worsen after sun exposure
- Butterfly-shaped facial rash that will often cover the victim’s cheeks and nose
- Rashes that appear on other parts of the person’s body
- Fingers or toes that may turn blue or white during times of stress or when exposed to cold temperatures
Unfortunately, your doctor may not always correctly recognize these symptoms as indicating you may have lupus. There is hope for some relief from the stress you have endured in relation to your condition, though, for your medical negligence lawyer may be able to help you seek compensation for any injuries or damages this misdiagnosis may have caused you.
how is lupus diagnosed?
While lupus is difficult to diagnose, doctors are able to examine you and potentially determine if you may be suffering from lupus. Typically, a patient may be diagnosed with lupus if he or she is suffering from at least four of the common lupus symptoms, especially if those four or more symptoms include:
- The butterfly facial rash that affects approximately one third of all lupus patients.
- Breathing problems caused by inflammation in the lining around the heart or in the lungs which may also cause coughing, sharp chest pain, or shortness of breath.
- Anemia, often specifically hemolytic anemia, caused by the lupus actively destroying red blood cells.
- Swollen joints that are inflamed for at least six weeks.
- Psychosis, such as hallucinations or delusions, and seizures, which are often used as more concrete evidence that an individual has lupus.
To avoid misdiagnosed lupus, your doctor should generally work to rule out similar conditions such as Lyme disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, or arthritis. Your doctor will also generally perform several blood tests to establish both a blood cell and platelet count before performing an antinuclear antibody test to determine whether there is an increased number of antibodies in your blood, which is a common indicator of an autoimmune disease such as lupus.
Misdiagnosed lupus faqs
If you think your doctor may have failed to diagnose your lupus before you developed worsening conditions, or you were forced to incur additional medical bills or time missed from work pursuing additional treatment for an incorrect ailment or to continue seeking a diagnosis, you should contact a skilled medical malpractice lawyer near you as soon as possible. Your attorney can help you better understand your legal options and whether you may be entitled to any compensation.
Importantly, not every mistake by a doctor or every incorrect diagnosis may result in a medical malpractice claim. Misdiagnosed lupus claims are often especially complicated even among already complex medical negligence claims, and you may have several questions if you think your lupus was misdiagnosed, such as what happens after your misdiagnosis or whether you may be able to pursue compensation from the doctor.
What Happens After a Lupus Misdiagnosis?
Unfortunately, the symptoms of lupus are often mistakable, and it may sometimes take a long time and many visits to a doctor before your symptoms are finally diagnosed correctly. While every failure to properly diagnose lupus may not rise to the level of medical malpractice, you may be entitled to compensation in some cases. Diagnosing lupus early is often crucial to effectively treat the disease as well as to potentially prevent serious and even life-threatening consequences.
When lupus is diagnosed early, this lowers the risk of serious complications such as cardiovascular disease or life-threatening organ damage. With early diagnosis and proper care and treatment of the periodic flare-ups caused by lupus, up to 90 percent of individuals diagnosed with lupus have normal lifespans.
However, if your doctor negligently failed to properly diagnose you with lupus, this medical negligence may prevent you from timely obtaining the necessary early treatment options. As a result, your lupus may impact you more severely than if your doctor had correctly identified the disease earlier in its progression Also, misdiagnosed lupus can affect your financial well-being as you may be forced to seek more expensive treatment or miss time from work. Missing time from work may often mean lost income, despite being faced with mounting medical bills for your treatment.
Can I Sue If My Lupus Was Misdiagnosed?
If your doctor failed to correctly diagnose your lupus, you may be entitled to compensation in some cases, often depending on the impact of this misdiagnosis on your life. For example, you may be entitled to compensation if the doctor failed to diagnose you with lupus at all, or only after you developed worsening symptoms or after the doctor incorrectly diagnosed your symptoms as being caused by something other than lupus. Misdiagnosed lupus caused by the doctor’s negligence may have caused injuries or damages in forms such as:
- Avoidable medical bills
- Lost income from time missed off work pursuing unnecessary treatment for the wrong ailment
- Pain and suffering caused by the worsening of your lupus
- The development of temporary or permanent disabilities
If you suffered any of these negative outcomes or other harm, you may be able to pursue a medical malpractice claim against your doctor. However, it is important that you speak to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case and determine whether you may have a claim.
What Will I Need to Prove to Win My Case?
Like many personal injury claims, your medical malpractice lawyer will need to show the doctor’s conduct rose to the level of negligence. To prove your injury claim, your lawyer will generally need to prove:
- Your doctor owed you a duty of care, which is generally established by proving that a doctor-patient relationship existed.
- Your doctor breached this duty of care by failing to meet the applicable standard of care.
- This breach by the doctor was a direct cause of the misdiagnosed lupus.
- This lupus misdiagnosis caused injuries or damages to you.
Contact a lupus medical injury lawyer near you today
Unfortunately, doctors may fail to correctly diagnose lupus in some patients, especially when those doctors deviate from the accepted standard of care. This misdiagnosis can cause severe consequences, including burdensome financial costs and worsening symptoms that may have been prevented by an earlier diagnosis. If misdiagnosed lupus left you in a worsened medical condition as a result, you may be entitled to compensation by filing a medical malpractice claim against your doctor.
If you have suffered financial or physical harm as a result of a misdiagnosis, you should contact the experienced attorneys at Zinda Law Group as soon as possible to schedule your free consultation. Our medical malpractice attorneys may be able to help you maximize your compensation.
Call (800) 863-5312 today for your free consultation with a medical malpractice lawyer from Zinda Law Group. You will not pay anything unless we are able to win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
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