The failure to diagnose the correct condition is a frightful thought for a patient who was led to believe that he was diagnosed and being treated correctly. It would understandably be a shock to the nervous system to find out that one's progressively worsening condition is due to days or weeks of the wrong treatment protocol due to an incorrect diagnosis. In Oregon, when a doctor engages in a pattern of applying the wrong treatment on the basis of an initial diagnosis that was wrong, it may be the basis for a medical malpractice claim.

The key thing for the plaintiff to determine is whether the doctor's mistaken course of treatment fell below the minimum standard of care demanded of a doctor under similar circumstances. If it did, then that is considered to be medical negligence. Once that is determined to be the situation, then the plaintiff must go further and determine whether the medical negligence was a substantial factor in causing the injuries or death to the patient.

If the medical negligence was a substantial factor in the causation of the injuries, there is generally the basic framework for a valid medical malpractice claim. These elements were present in a recent case in Illinois where a hospital defendant agreed with the plaintiff to pay $5 million to the former patient as settlement of all claims that she may have. The 64-year-old woman had claimed that the doctors at the defending institution had made an incorrect diagnosis and treated her incorrectly to such an extent that she suffered brain damage.

The doctors treated her by increasing sodium to her blood stream for about one week. When she was transferred to another hospital, it was discovered that she had another condition, and that the misdiagnosis and incorrect treatment protocol had actually caused the brain damage. The settlement reflects the general principle of medical malpractice, recognized in Oregon, that the medical providers must at least engage in the minimum recognized diagnostic and treatment protocols required for the symptoms and circumstances presented by the patient.

Source:, "$5 million medical malpractice settlement OK'd vs doctors, Northwest Community Hospital", Emma Gallimore, Jan. 22, 2016