Most people are surprised to learn that some of the most common reasons for filing a medical malpractice claim are failure to diagnose a disease and misdiagnosis of a disease. Both types of error can have serious and even deadly consequences. When a patient does not receive the right diagnosis, they will not get the treatment they need. This results in worsening conditions and sometimes death.
Failure to diagnose a condition, especially in the case of cancers, creates an incredible danger for the patient. Many diseases must be treated quickly. When a doctor sends a patient home instead of treating them for a heart attack or starting chemotherapy, they may be sentencing that patient to death.
Misdiagnosis of a condition can be even more dangerous than a failure to diagnose a problem. In addition to not getting the right treatment, a misdiagnosed patient will often receive unnecessary treatment. This may involve surgery or medication with harmful side effects. If you have been made to undergo an unnecessary surgery, you need legal assistance.
There are many reasons why a doctor may not make the correct diagnosis. Sometimes doctors are in a rush. Other times they don’t ask the right questions. In many cases they simply fail to recognize signs and symptoms or fail to connect these symptoms to their cause. Doctors can make errors when performing examinations or when reading test results.
While misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose are very serious problems, they are not always medical malpractice. In order to hold a medical professional liable for your injuries or the death of a family member, they must have been negligent. The factors a court will use to determine negligence include:
- Duty. Generally, doctors owe their patients a duty to provide medical care comparable to a reasonably competent medical professional in that physical area and area of practice. This means a general practice physician and an oncologist may be held to different standards.
- Violation of duty. The doctor must have violated this duty by not providing the required level of expertise and care.
- Harm. You or your family member must have experienced actual harm, such as deterioration in condition or additional suffering.
- Cause. This violation must have actually been the cause of your harm.
Misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose cases often require the assistance of medical experts to testify about the condition involved and the appropriate standard of care for the doctor.
Seigel Law aggressively litigates medical malpractice claims for clients and their families after a misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose. If a doctor’s mistake caused you or your loved one to suffer, we do everything we can to help you recover compensation. Call us now at 201.444.4000 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.