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Just like a misdiagnosis, failing to diagnose a patient can lead to deadly results. The majority of medical malpractice lawsuits happen because of a failure to diagnose. Whether it is a failure to diagnose cancer or another illness, these types of medical errors can lead to very costly results – and can even leave a patient in pain for years.
Understanding Diagnostic Errors
All diagnostic errors can be tragic and costly for the patient as well as their family. But, doctors do have a big job. They often have to diagnose a patient based on a handful of symptoms – and those symptoms could be the result of multiple similar conditions. They rely on diagnostic tests and their expertise to come to a conclusion. While sometimes a doctor can be wrong, that does not mean they have committed malpractice.
But, when a doctor fails to diagnose an obvious illness, ignores symptoms or simply refuses to order the proper tests to find the right diagnosis, then he or she could be considered negligent under the law.
Some of the most common types of diagnostic errors performed by doctors in the United States include:
- Failing to Diagnose – This is when a doctor completely misses the connection from your symptoms and test results and fails to find the right diagnosis – or any diagnosis.
- Delayed Diagnosis – This is when a doctor does not determine an accurate diagnosis fast enough.
- Misdiagnosis – Your physician diagnoses you, but the diagnosis is incorrect.
The end result of all of these types of errors could result in longer treatments and even death – especially for serious conditions that are not treated in time. For example, if your physician fails to diagnose your cancer in time, then it could spread to the point where it is no longer treatable or even manageable.
Do You Have a Medical Malpractice Case?
To prove that the doctor was negligent for your medical malpractice claim, you must prove first that:
- The doctor that failed to diagnose you had a legal duty to provide you with a standard of care. This means you must prove that a doctor-patient relationship existed, that you were a paying patient of the doctor, etc.
- The doctor failed to perform within their duty of care.
- You have now suffered an injury or harm because of the doctors’ inability to diagnose your condition.
- The doctor’s mistake led to damages and/or costs.
When it comes to medical diagnostic errors, there are special circumstances that must be considered in each case. A misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose is not automatically a medical malpractice case. If another professional would have also missed that same condition, then the courts may not consider your doctor “negligent .”
Also, if you refused to cooperate in any way with your physician’s diagnostic process, they may not be considered negligent. For example, you refused to get a chest x-ray. Your physician was unable to catch your lung cancer because you refused to take the test. In this case, the physician was not negligent, because they requested a diagnostic test.
On the other hand, if the physician refuses to look at test results or even order the proper tests, while other physicians in the same position would, then he or she is legally liable for your injuries.
Common Reasons for Failure to Diagnose
- Inadequate testing – or no testing ordered by the physician
- Inattention by the physician – meaning he or she failed to review test results or even examine the patient
- Inexperience – some physicians just do not have the experience or refuse to consult a specialist in areas in which they are unfamiliar
- Improperly maintained diagnostic equipment, leading to inaccurate results
- Uncooperative patients
Did Your Physician Fail to Diagnose a Deadly Disease?
If your physician failed to diagnose your condition or you lost a loved one because of a failure to diagnose, then you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses.
Contact the medical malpractice attorneys at Hardesty, Tyde, Green & Ashton today. We offer free consultations and we can assist you with your case. Call now to get started.
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What constitutes a personal injury?
The most common personal injury is an auto accident, but the broad definition encompasses any situation where a person suffers harm due to the negligence of another person or entity. Early identification of a personal injury is important to the legal process. Many serious injuries occur each year involving:
– Auto accidents
– Premises liability accidents such as injuries caused by a slip and fall
– Medical malpractice/nursing home injuries
– Wrongful death
– Work-related accidents
– Animal attacks
– Faulty or malfunctioning products (product liability)