worried looking doctor with stethoscopeWhen you visit a doctor for an ailment or injury, you expect to get accurate insights and appropriate support to begin the healing process. When a medical professional fails to accurately determine what is wrong with you, you could suffer long-term illness and could even die.

What Is Failure to Diagnose?

When a doctor fails to diagnose a medical condition, the patient will not receive the proper treatment and care for a serious medical problem. Failure to diagnose could refer to getting the wrong diagnosis or not getting any diagnosis at all. Either way, the doctor did not make the right call when it came to your care needs. When that happens, it's essential to know what to do to determine if you have a legal case against that provider.

Not All Failure to Diagnose Cases Are Medical Malpractice

Most doctors take every step necessary to ensure they are providing the best care for a patient, but sometimes they are wrong about a diagnosis. Sometimes conditions are tricky, with symptoms that point to something very different from what's actually happening.

Failure to diagnose only becomes medical malpractice when the actions the doctor takes or does not take are a result of negligence. Some examples of this may include:

  • A doctor fails to consider all options in the diagnosis of the condition.
  • The doctor fails to listen to the patient and consider all symptoms involved.
  • The doctor fails to notify the patient of test results or diagnosis.
  • The provider does not take the necessary steps to follow up with a specialist or doctor that may be better suited to the situation.
  • The doctor does not do what most other doctors would do in some way when diagnosing a person with the same symptoms you have.
  • The provider misinterpreted test results that led to the improper diagnosis.
  • The provider did not use a person's medical history to make their diagnosis.
  • There was a lack of use of industry-standard diagnostic tools available to the provider.

Types of Harm That May Come From a Misdiagnosis

When a mistake like this happens, whether it is medical malpractice or not, the patient often suffers in some way. For example, when a person needs medical care and does not receive it, that person may develop complications or struggle with extensive pain when there was a treatment that could have provided relief sooner. Some complications that may come from a failure like this may include:

  • The disease progresses beyond what it should have.
  • A person struggles with unnecessary pain and discomfort.
  • Complications arise that make treatment unavailable or ineffective.
  • Disability or loss of function occurs.
  • The patient dies.

Types of Conditions Where Failure to Diagnosis May Happen

Any situation can lead to a failure to diagnose. Some of the most worrisome conditions that can lead to long-term complications and risk to life include:

  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Aneurysm
  • Diabetes
  • Infection
  • Stroke
  • Heart failure

In these situations, appropriate care is often critical and sometimes needed immediately to ensure that a person's health and wellbeing are protected. If a doctor fails to act fast enough, complications may occur, leading to long-term repercussions, which could prove fatal.

What Can You Recover From Such a Claim?

The first step in this type of situation is to prove that failure to diagnose occurred. That requires proving negligence, and it may be more complicated than many expect. If you can do that, you may be able to then take action to receive a recovery from your losses. The amount of this depends on what you've lost as a result of the incident. Some examples of possible recovery include:

  • Medical bills related to the condition brought on by the failure to diagnose, such as the need for emergency surgery or extensive medical care that would not have otherwise been needed, if diagnosed properly
  • Rehabilitation and recovery services needed as a result of the incident
  • Pain and suffering claims
  • Time lost at work
  • Any loss of function or quality of life related to the poor diagnosis

In some situations, wrongful death may occur. If a person dies as a result of a failure to diagnose brought on by medical malpractice, it's likely that the individual's close family, such as a spouse or children, may be able to bring a wrongful death suit against the impacted parties. This may lead to compensation for the loss in multiple ways, including loss of companionship, pain, suffering, and more.

How a Lawyer Can Help You

When facing the intensity of a claim like this, it's essential to have an experienced medical malpractice attorney by your side. It's essential simply because most doctors have insurance policies and powerful attorneys that will work to prove that the doctor did not fail in their decision and no negligence occurred. Having your own attorney, then, becomes critical to ensuring that your case receives a full settlement.

It is difficult to determine if negligence occurred. In the heat of the moment, a simple mistake can lead to fatal consequences, but if that doctor didn't fail to do what other doctors would have done in that situation, it might not be negligence. Proving that your case was a true failure to diagnose from negligence takes skill and experience from an attorney.

Your attorney will help you with:

  • Gathering evidence in the case, including witness statements and medical records
  • Determining if negligence occurred based on all evidence obtained
  • Filing claims against the applicable parties, which may include the doctor and hospital, or others
  • Communicating on your behalf to insurance companies and attorneys
  • Helping you to determine what your potential recovery may be
  • Going to trial to help you fight for your right to compensation

If you think you might be the victim of a doctor's failure to diagnose a serious medical condition, don't just wonder. Take the time to reach out to our team today for guidance on what your legal options are. Set up a free consultation to discuss your case. The Button Law Firm wants to talk to you and provide you with the support you need. Set up an appointment with us online now or call for a consultation.