If you or a loved one has suffered harm due to the failure of health care providers to diagnose a medical issue, you may have legal recourse. A failure to diagnose can result from several different health care provider errors and different types of negligence.
Here are some of the most common ways that failures to diagnose occur and some of the considerations in proving these types of cases.
The Term “Failure to Diagnose” is Misleading
The term “failure to diagnose” is misleading. It’s an unfortunate name given to doctors who have failed to diagnose a patient. The term implies that the doctor was negligent in their duties and failed to do what they should have done.
Not All Medical Errors are Considered Malpractice
Most medical malpractice are considered so because they involve a failure to diagnose case. However, not all cases involving a failure to diagnose are malpractice.
For a case to qualify as medical malpractice, there must be some negligence from your doctor or other healthcare professional.
In Some Cases, a Failure to Diagnose can Result in Death
There are many ways for a failure to diagnose a case to result in death. For example, a patient may have died of cancer or been diagnosed with an infection that became fatal. Sometimes, the patient dies from complications resulting from the disease or condition.
However, sometimes the doctor’s mistake can be more nuanced. For instance, if they fail to accurately read a scan or test results properly and thus misdiagnose their patient’s illness. Another example is if someone is not correctly diagnosed with cancer. At the same time, they’re still healthy enough to receive treatment that could save their life later on but instead dies because their health was not monitored properly by their doctor due to this error early.
Difficult Diagnoses are the Exception, Not the Norm
While it’s true that some diagnoses can be difficult to make, they are the exception and not the norm. The vast majority of cases involve clear symptoms of a known condition or disease that require little or no investigation. If you see those symptoms in your patient, treat them accordingly and move on to another case.
A difficult diagnosis occurs when you see symptoms not associated with any specific condition or illness but which could point toward one of many diseases. For example, a patient with chest pain may have either a heart attack or pneumonia. Both conditions require immediate medical attention but need different types of treatment based on their underlying causes.
It’s important to note that not all difficult diagnoses are malpractice. They may mean your doctor needs more training before he can recognize them on his own. If your physician could identify this type of scenario early enough in his career, he should have already received sufficient training at medical school or residency programs.
There is no doubt that failure to diagnose cases are some of the most difficult medical malpractice claims a patient can pursue. Medical experts and juries will often give physicians the benefit of the doubt when they say they did not know or suspect that a patient was suffering from something more than what was first diagnosed. Be sure you have an experienced medical malpractice attorney on your side who understands these cases. Such an attorney can use all available evidence to show that the physician should have suspected something worse.