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While the appendix is often described as a useless, vestigial organ, the bacteria-filled sac has the potential to kill if it becomes inflamed and bursts. While it is common for doctors to diagnose appendicitis, which is the inflammation of the appendix, failing to diagnose it can potentially lead to medical malpractice liability. Additionally, when it becomes inflamed, surgery is required to remove it. Anytime surgery is required, there is potential for medical malpractice not just for surgeons, but also anesthesiologists.
Generally, medical malpractice claims require showing that your doctor failed to use the same standard of care that another doctor in the community would have used. This means that even if your doctor made a mistake by not diagnosing appendicitis, that alone may not be enough to substantiate a malpractice claim if other doctors would have made the same mistake.
Malpractice for Misdiagnosis
While diagnosing medical issues is a doctor's primary function, doctors make mistakes diagnosing patients every day. In order to find out if your doctor's failure to diagnose properly rises to the level of malpractice, it will likely require not just the assistance of an attorney, but also a medical expert.
Since medical malpractice requires showing that your doctor provided a level of care below what other doctors would have provided, it generally requires another doctor to verify that not only the diagnosis was wrong, but the methods used and conclusions reached would not have been the same as another doctor's in the community.
How Long Do You Have to File a Malpractice Claim
Malpractice claims, while they may seem like other injury claims, often have shorter statutes of limitations, in addition to pre-filing requirements such as notifying the doctor or hospital before filing. Because, like most legal claims, medical malpractice claims are controlled by state law, the laws vary slightly from state to state, as do the deadlines.
If you believe that you have a medical malpractice claim, contacting an attorney as soon as you suspect it is advisable. Medical malpractice claims can take a long time to investigate for attorneys, and may require ordering medical records, retaining medical experts, and having additional medical testing done.