When a doctor fails to diagnose a condition that would have been reasonably diagnosed, this physician can be held liable for any injuries or other complications associated with diagnostic errors.
Many times medical malpractice claims are filed against emergency room doctors but anyone in the following list could be held liable.
- Family doctor
- Medical specialist
- Any licensed healthcare professional who views test results such as X-rays, CAT or MRI scans, or laboratory work
How Failure to Diagnose Can Affect the Sick Patient
By failing to diagnose timely a condition; thereby allowing a disease to spread, it often produces unnecessary, dangerous complications; and often, wrongful death. Some of the most chilling diagnostic failures surround cancer.
Other standard diagnostic mistakes include this list.
- Heart disease
- Lyme disease
- A variety of dangerous viruses and other pathogenic conditions
- Diseases caused by toxic substances
- A variety of neurological disorders
To prove medical malpractice based on failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis, three important events must take place.
- A doctor/patient relationship existed during the time the failure to diagnose occurred. Physicians who review test data are also part of that relationship; by association with the attending physician who ordered the tests
- The doctor’s error must be based on negligence
- The patient suffered injuries because of the healthcare professional’s negligence
Some of the typical circumstances in which a doctor can fail – or delay – in accurately diagnosing a patient’s illness can include:
- A doctor fails – or delays – in ordering proper tests
- Misinterpreting an X-ray or other diagnostic test results
- An attending physician forgets to factor potential health problems that are associated with specific patient symptoms
- Not giving proper consideration to a minor medical issue that could be a clue to a more serious one
- Nurses can use incorrect types or amounts of diagnostic materials or dyes in tests used to detect specific diseases
- Technicians, (X-ray, CAT, MRI) may improperly operate their devices that result in incorrect or misleading images
- Oncologists or other specialists might fail to notify a doctor of dangerous results promptly
In some of the above examples in addition to the attending medical professional, the medical institution may also become a defendant in a negligent diagnosis civil claim.
Damages that may be recovered in such cases include:
- All medical bills for treating the disease
- Lost wages for the entire time you were out of work because of misdiagnosis
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death if the misdiagnosis produced patient death
Cordisco & Saile LLC Protects Those Who Were Made Ill Because of a Doctor’s Mistake
A primary doctor’s legal duty is to listen to what their patients tell them about how they’re feeling and the pains they may be experiencing in evaluating their condition. Patient complaints are the first step in proper diagnosis. As part of a full examination, including taking a full medical history, patient complaints help determine which tests should be ordered. But many diagnostic failures occur in emergency rooms and trauma care centers where timely detection of patient symptoms can be the difference between life, death; and a lifetime of disability.
Call Cordisco & Saile LLC or fill out our online contact form to begin the process of recouping monetary damages (215) 642-2335.