Failure to Properly Diagnose a Medical Condition
Failing to diagnose a medical condition is medical malpractice. A failure to diagnose can also occur when a diagnosis is delayed. A failure to diagnose or a delay in diagnosis can result in serious medical complications or death. A doctor is obligated to identify and treat certain symptoms and conditions. If a doctor is unable to make a diagnosis, they must determine what is causing the condition that a patient is presenting with. In circumstances where a patient is at a higher risk to develop certain conditions, a doctor should be aware of the increased risk and the increased likelihood that a patient can develop a certain condition.
In most cases, a claim exists when the failure or delay results in the progression of the conditions beyond that which would have occurred following a proper and timely diagnosis. Most doctors are taught to establish a differential diagnosis, which means to eliminate other possible causes of a patient’s symptoms. It is essentially a process of elimination that assesses the probabilities of a patient’s symptoms being attributed to one cause or another. Differential diagnosis has four steps. The physician, gathers all information about the patient and creates a symptoms list, they list all possible causes, they prioritize the list by placing the most urgently dangerous possible causes at the top of the list, and they rule out or treat possible causes, beginning with the most urgently dangerous condition and working down the list.
Failure to diagnose extends beyond doctors and their medical facilities. A failure can occur when an insurance company does not allow for certain testing or follow-up care. Insurance companies have been found liable in instances where they improperly obstruct a patient’s ability to get the treatment they need to identify the medical condition they present with.
Improper treatment is most likely to occur as a result of a misdiagnosis. Sometimes, a doctor who has correctly diagnosed a disease or condition can still commit medical malpractice by failing to properly treat it. In other cases, negligence can occur when a doctor or other medical professional attempts an unconventional treatment when a more conventional treatment would have been successful.
This type of medical malpractice can have serious medical consequences or even be deadly. If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of a failure to diagnose, or a delay in rendering a proper diagnosis, you should consult with lawyers that are experienced in successfully prosecuting medical malpractice cases. The complicated nature of these cases can lead to a meritorious case being lost if the claim is not handled with the proper legal expertise and representation. Not all instances where there is a failure to diagnose will result in a viable claim, however, it is important to consult with an attorney who can ensure that your rights are protected. The lawyers at Leav and Steinberg specialize in all types of medical malpractice cases and are well equipped to handle even the most challenging and complicated matters. We are here to help you win your case even against the toughest opponents.