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Is Failure to Diagnose Medical Malpractice?

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Many medical malpractice lawsuits start from failure to diagnose an illness or injury. Misdiagnosis on its own, though, is not necessarily medical malpractice. Not every error will lead to a successful lawsuit. However, medical malpractice can become actionable in some cases when the failure to diagnose results in delayed treatment, no treatment, or something else that results in the worsening of the patient’s medical care. 

Proving Failure to Diagnosis 

A patient who is proving the failure to diagnose might have a hard time proving it. You will need to keep detailed records of all the actions to show that there was a doctor-patient relationship and that the doctor failed to live up to the proper standard of care. 

You will also need to show that the doctor’s failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis caused an actual injury. The biggest fight will be determining whether the lack of diagnosis was really the cause of the injury and the problems that have been incurred because of the misdiagnosis or the failure to diagnose. 

Deciding whether the doctor lived up to the right standard of care will almost always require an expert opinion. A patient who has had a misdiagnosis will need to show that a doctor of similar status would have been able to accurately diagnose the problem within a timely and normal manner. 

Another reason that misdiagnosis happens is when there is a faulty lab result or test. Errors in test results can happen because of human flaws or because of problems with the equipment. For both reasons, though, it’s the fault of the hospital or clinic as every patient is entitled to correct procedures and the correct equipment. 

No matter who caused the error or what part of the hospital caused the error, you will need to prove these three things in court:

  • The patient suffered harm due to negligence.
  • The doctor’s error rose to the level of negligence. 
  • A doctor-patient relationship existed at the time of the alleged error in diagnosis.

What Is Considered Medical Misdiagnosis? 

Although proving medical misdiagnosis can be hard in many cases, there are some things you can look out for to make sure you are being offered the best care possible:

  • The doctor failed to include an important potential medical problem on the initial differential diagnosis list. 
  • A nurse failed to properly divide diagnosis-related medication, which alters the response to the medication. 
  • A doctor failed to recognize the urgency of one of the possible medical problems. 
  • The doctor improperly conducted or interpreted a test that could cause a mistake in narrowing down the possibilities. 

Reach Out to a Malpractice Lawyer Today 

If you need a medical malpractice lawyer to help you with a case of medical misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose, call The Law Offices of Casey D. Shomo at 561-659-6366 to partner with us today. You can also fill out the contact form that follows. We will get back to you right away.