Facing Manhattan Misdiagnosis Challenges

Mt. Sinai Beth Hospital has an average overall rating and patient survey rating of just two stars, according to the Medicare Hospital Compare Report Card. New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital also obtained a patient survey rating of 2 stars, though the report card’s criteria give it a three-star score.

Unfortunately, few of the hospitals within Manhattan or, indeed, in the New York City area in general, received a high star rating. Hospitals across New York received an average 2.18 stars out of five on a recent report card—a number that has continued to decline steadily over the past several years. Only The Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan maintains a five-star rating. And even there, bad things can happen.

Manhattan hospitals notoriously struggle with underfunding and a lack of adequate specialty equipment. They have high mortality rates, high infection rates, and inaccurate diagnoses. Worse, they often do not have adequate staff on hand to treat and diagnose patients, which can increase rates of misdiagnosis and medical malpractice as staff members struggle to move patients through as quickly as possible, rather than providing each patient with the high standard of care they deserve.

Manhattan Hospitals in Crisis

Long before COVID-19 created additional challenges to a stretched hospital system, Manhattan and other New York hospitals were in crisis. Even as patient wait-times are longer than anywhere, these hospitals rush patients through with inadequate staffing and equipment, all of which increase the risk of misdiagnosis.

Hospitals in Poor Neighborhoods Score Lower

While Manhattan is an expensive place to live, it has its poorer neighborhoods, such as East Harlem. Many of the hospitals that received the lowest grades exist in poorer neighborhoods. Those hospitals don’t always step up and provide the needed level of care to their patients.

Inadequate Staffing

Misdiagnosis in Manhattan hospitals may also be a consequence of inadequate staffing. Hospitals often suffer from significant turnover, which can make it even more challenging to maintain enough staff to handle diagnoses. When doctors finally do see a patient, they may end up rushing through the diagnosis, failing to take adequate time to listen to a patient. By rushing through, a doctor might miss critical information, such as the complete list of symptoms a patient is suffering, which may lead to misdiagnosis and failure to implement correct treatments.

Inadequate staffing can also make it impossible for nurses to keep up with patient needs and demands, especially during high-volume periods. Consequently, nurses may fail to properly note patient symptoms, including paying attention to symptoms that could indicate serious conditions that are hard to detect.

Dated Equipment

Medical technology is constantly improving. Unfortunately, updating equipment is also quite expensive. Many of Manhattan’s hospitals do not have the latest technology, including the latest imaging and testing equipment. Consequently, doctors in those hospitals are operating with incomplete information, the exact problem that leads to misdiagnosis.

High Numbers of Teaching Hospitals

Manhattan has many teaching hospitals. Teaching hospitals often offer, since they can mean more eyes on patients. In understaffed hospitals, however, a student may end up making diagnostic decisions with relatively little oversight from a trained, experienced doctor. Doctors may simply accept students’ diagnoses without taking the time to fully examine their patients and catch errors that doctors-in-training are likelier to make. Consequently, cases of misdiagnosis may increase.

The Danger of Misdiagnosis

By the time you head into a hospital in Manhattan, you usually have very severe symptoms that require immediate treatment. You may have acute symptoms of illness, long-term illness that has increased in severity, or an injury that needs immediate treatment. While any of these situations call for urgent action, rushing patients through leads to misdiagnosis, which can create even more problems for patients.

Misdiagnosis Can Delay Treatment.

Misdiagnosis can delay treatment and lead to worsening of a problem in the meantime. If you have a broken bone, you need a doctor to set that bone in the hospital. Within a few days, after the swelling goes down, you will generally either have a cast placed to support the bone or have surgery to help repair the damage and support the bone in the future.

If a doctor misdiagnoses your injury, however, he or she may not set that bone. Meanwhile, you may continue to move around normally, often requiring a broken bone to continue to bear weight. Continuing to function without proper treatment for a broken bone not only worsens the injury but further may result in the bone healing wrong, which may lead to the need for additional treatment to undo the incorrect healing before fixing the break properly. Or, a doctor may diagnose you with a viral condition when you really have a bacterial ailment.

Consequently, you will not receive the antibiotics you need to chase away the infection and make a full recovery. The longer you wait to get that medication, the more severe your symptoms may grow.

Misdiagnosis Can Lead to Incorrect Treatment.

In some cases, misdiagnosis not only results in a delay of proper treatment but in providing improper treatment for an illness or injury. Not only does that mean that a patient does not receive the treatment needed to heal, but the treatment the patient does receive is inappropriate for their condition and may result in serious side effects.

Many medications, for example, can create extreme side effects, from digestive distress to sexual dysfunction, particularly if a patient does not have the condition the medication is designed to address. Improper treatments may also worsen the original symptoms of an ailment. Patients who trust the doctor’s diagnosis may persist in the prescribed treatment, only leading to a worsening of their condition.

Misdiagnosis Can Change Life Plans and Create Unnecessary Expenses.

Following a serious diagnosis, you may need to make significant changes to your life. If you receive a cancer diagnosis, for example, you may choose to take a long leave of absence from work, or quit your job altogether. If you receive a diagnosis of a serious injury, you may purchase durable medical equipment to help make your life easier or allow you to maintain independence while you recover. Misdiagnosis can thus result in huge and unnecessary costs and expenses, from direct medical expenses to the costs of making big life decisions based on incorrect information.

What to Do in a Manhattan Hospital Misdiagnosis Case

In an understaffed Manhattan hospital, maybe you are hyper-vigilant and come to suspect that the doctor who oversaw your care did not correctly diagnose your injury from the moment the doctor left your room. Other times, you might not discover or notice anything off for days or even weeks later. Either way, there are some simple steps anyone in a Manhattan misdiagnosis situation should take as soon as possible.

1. Document Everything.

Documenting medical treatment is critical, not only to self-monitor your health, but also to preserve evidence in case you should eventually need to bring a misdiagnosis claim. Any time you experience a medical incident that leads you to seek treatment at a hospital, document your experience. List your symptoms, even ones that happened early on, and even if you are unsure whether or not they are tied to the same condition. If you suffered serious injuries, take photos of any apparent symptoms, including bruising or lacerations.

Continue documentation throughout your recovery. You may, for example, want to document future interactions with a medical professional, or to take photos of your injury as it heals. Take particular note of any problems with recovery: for example, if the doctor did not adequately clean your wound after you suffered a severe laceration and you begin to see evidence of infection, take photos to document its progress. Your Jacoby & Meyers Case Manager will help guide you through the documentation of your injuries and recovery.

Keep track of all of your medical records, including scans of your injury. Add information provided to you by your doctor or nurses to the file. All of this information may later serve as evidence of misdiagnosis.

As you document that information, consider how well you were treated by doctors or nurses in the hospital. Did they seem unsure about their diagnosis, treat you disrespectfully, rush you through, or display any other indications of inadequate service? Notes of such displays of behavior may also help to explain misdiagnosis in your case.

2. See Another Doctor.

If you suspect misdiagnosis while still in the hospital, you have the right to ask for a second opinion. If you feel you do not receive a proper diagnosis from a second doctor, you may want to visit another hospital or press for additional scans and treatment.

If you discover misdiagnosis later because of another doctor’s intervention or treatment, keep thorough records regarding the second doctor’s diagnosis and information. You may also want to ask that doctor to make a statement regarding your diagnosis and treatment. The second doctor could, potentially, serve as a witness to the misdiagnosis.

Sometimes, you may incorrectly suspect that a doctor has failed to diagnose you properly. For example, you may have immense pain from a deep bruise even after an x-ray shows that you did not suffer a broken bone. As your pain continues over the next several days or weeks, you may decide to visit another care provider, who can do another X-ray and look over your previous records to see if they show evidence of a break. Further examination, however, may uncover no additional medical information: your pain does result from the bruise, as the initial doctor stated.

Even so, you shouldn’t put off your concerns and your feelings. It may be the case that a second doctor can confirm your suspicions of misdiagnosis. Many illnesses, including several types of cancers, may have relatively obvious symptoms, but only if the doctor knows what to look for. Unfortunately, some doctors, even with the right information in hand, fail to properly diagnose an illness or condition. You do not want to be left holding the bag because you did not speak up about your concerns.

3. Contact an Attorney.

Your medical care remains the top priority, especially after a misdiagnosis. Once you receive an official diagnosis, you may have many demands on your time, including seeking treatment for your ailment. However, as soon as possible, get in touch with an experienced misdiagnosis attorney. An attorney can help you figure out your next steps toward pursuing compensation when a doctor in one of Manhattan’s hospitals commits an act of misdiagnosis against you.

What Compensation Can You Claim After Misdiagnosis?

A misdiagnosis of illness or injury can lead to problems, many of which can result in financial hardship. You shouldn’t be left to pay the bill for a doctor’s mistake. An attorney can help give you a better idea of how much compensation you may recover for your injuries.

Most Manhattan misdiagnosis claims, however, include compensation for the following expenses and impacts.

  • Increased medical expenses. Misdiagnosis can lead to increased medical expenses in several ways. The visit during which you were misdiagnosed is itself an unnecessary expense. Misdiagnosis may result in bills for treatments or medications you did not need, for a condition you did not have. You may incur even further medical expenses because your actual condition worsened in severity while you were undergoing improper treatment. You can claim compensation for all of these kinds of medical expenses and more as part of a misdiagnosis claim.
  • Lost wages. If you did not receive prompt treatment for an injury, it might have kept you out of work longer than if you received the right treatment and could go back to work quickly. Misdiagnosis of an illness may mean you miss out on treatment that could get you back to work sooner, or that your condition worsens such that you have to wait even longer to return to work. You may miss a considerable number of pay-hours because of that misdiagnosis. You can claim compensation for wages lost due to misdiagnosis as part of your Manhattan medical malpractice claim.
  • Compensation for pain and suffering. Misdiagnosis can lead to immense physical pain and suffering short- and long-term. You may still have the symptoms you went to the doctor to treat in addition to further side effects from the wrong medication. An attorney can help you determine how to seek compensation for all of your pain and suffering through a Manhattan medical malpractice claim.

To speak with a member of our team about compensation you may be entitled to contact us today.