Drivon Turner & Waters,PLC

Medical Malpractice: failure to diagnose

Physicians are trained to operate under what is called a "differential diagnoses." This means that when a definite diagnosis is not known, a patient should be treated based on a descending list of probability. In other words, that physician should use his or her training to offer an educated opinion as to what the problem is, and treat it accordingly.

It is inevitable that no physician is going to get it right 100 percent of the time, especially when it comes to certain non-fatal or more routine illnesses that don't necessarily require an in-depth diagnosis for treatment. However, when dealing with a life-threatening diagnosis, a patient should reasonably be able to expect a correct diagnosis and treatment plan. This is where failure to diagnose comes in.

Any delay in treatment that would have resulted in a different outcome if it had begun earlier, may qualify the patient for financial compensation. In some cases, especially when cancer has been misdiagnosed or undiagnosed, the end result could sadly be a loss of life, and that patient's loved ones may be entitled to compensation and damages for pain and suffering.

Another aspect that can fall under a failure to diagnose claim is incorrect treatment, or a misdiagnosis. Some medicines and treatments can cause damage to other parts of the body, and should not be used unless specifically needed. If a physician has misdiagnosed an illness, a patient may end up receiving medicine that is not necessary.

If there is concern about whether a failed diagnosis or misdiagnosis caused additional harm, it can be helpful to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Dealing with illness is burdensome enough. No one should have to also worry about whether they can trust their physician as well.

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