What can I do if a doctor misdiagnoses an injury, and that misdiagnosis resulted in long term pain and a need for surgery?

Question Details: My doctor misdiagnosed my broken ankle as a sprain. It has caused long term pain and I will now need an ankle fusion to correct it. This will require 6 months off work and ongoing medical costs. Is there any way for me to complain or get compensation from the doctor?

Filed under Health, Disability and ACC | 2010 View(s)

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Answers by Lawyers

Community Law Wellington & Hutt Valley

There are a number of things you can do if your doctor has misdiagnosed an injury resulting in long term pain and a need for surgery.

You have a right to complain about your doctor if you think that they have breached the Code of Health and Disability Consumers' Rights. One of your rights under the Code is the right to services of an appropriate standard (right 4).

Your doctor should have a complaints process that you can use. Alternatively, you can contact the Health and Disability Advocacy service for help making your complaint, or you can complain directly to the Health and Disability Commissioner.

You can find more information about the complaints process and your rights under the Code at www.hdc.org.nz under the "complaints" tab or at www.communitylaw.org.nz. More information about finding health and disability advocates can be found at advocacy.hdc.org.nz.

You are unlikely to be entitled to compensation from your doctor for your broken ankle, of for your surgery to repair it or for lost income during the 6 months you will be away from work. However, you may be entitled to payments from ACC for treatment for your ankle and compensation for lost income.

For more information about your entitlement to ACC, visit www.acc.co.nz or www.communitylaw.org.nz at Chapter 15, or call the ACC claims hotline on 0800 101 996.

Answered 13 Aug 2013. The IMPORTANT NOTICE below is part of this answer.

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