I would like to make a misdiagnosis of asthma compensation claim against my doctor who diagnosed my daughter with asthma when she only had a viral infection. Since my daughter has been using an inhaler she becomes frequently anxious and suffers a lot from headaches.

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

Answer:

If you intend to make a misdiagnosis of asthma compensation claim you have to retrospectively show that your doctor made a mistake in identifying the symptoms that your daughter was displaying, and that his or her misdiagnosis caused her to sustain an injury or the deterioration of an existing condition.

Although recent improvements in medical knowledge have decreased the number of misdiagnoses made by medical practitioners, studies have shown that almost one-in-three people who have been diagnosed with asthma in the past may have had some other – often temporary – medical condition.

This does not excuse your doctor from his mistake, but if accepted medical practice “at the time and in the circumstances” was to diagnose asthma without performing a lung function or “spirometry” test, you may find it difficult to support your compensation claim for the misdiagnosis of asthma with expert medical testimony.

You may also find it difficult to ascertain that your daughter´s current ailments are attributable to the misdiagnosis of asthma; as anxiety attacks and headaches are the symptoms of an overdose of salbutamol and albuterol rather than conditions that would manifest with the recommended doses prescribed for the use of an inhaler.

If your daughter has been using her inhaler – or you have allowed her to use her inhaler – more frequently than is recommended or was prescribed, the incorrect use of the medicine rather than the misdiagnosis will be the cause of her anxiety and headaches and you will not be eligible to make a compensation claim for the misdiagnosis of asthma.

Therefore, there are several questions that a solicitor would ask you before assessing whether you have a claim for misdiagnosis of asthma compensation which is worth your while to pursue:-

  • How long ago was your daughter misdiagnosed with asthma?
  • How old is your daughter and is she on any other medication?
  • How closely is her intake of salbutamol and albuterol regulated?
  • Have you attempted to stop using the inhaler to see if the anxiety and headaches disappear?

The other question that would influence your eligibility to make a claim for the misdiagnosis of asthma is have you mentioned your concerns about your daughter´s health with your GP? There may be an alternative explanation for the symptoms your daughter is experiencing which could be completely unrelated to the misdiagnosis of asthma.

With so many different possible scenarios, it is advised that you seek medical attention for your daughter straight away and then – once her current symptoms are confirmed as being due to the unnecessary use of an inhaler – discuss your daughter´s situation with a medical negligence solicitor.