Delayed Diagnosis, Misdiagnosis & Failure to Diagnose
What can you do when a doctor’s error puts your life at risk?
A doctor-patient relationship is often formed out of necessity — a patient needs the doctor’s help to get better or stay healthy — but this bond usually develops through respect and trust. Parents tend to keep their doctor’s number on speed dial in case their child has an emergency, and when feeling ill, many look to their doctors to provide care that will tame symptoms and treat the underlying causes.
But sometimes doctors get it wrong, and it’s the patients who suffer pain and further injuries due to a misdiagnosis or a delayed diagnosis. At Warner, Sechrest & Butts, we want to help keep the doctor-patient relationship on track by identifying doctors and healthcare facilities that are reckless in diagnosing patients. If you or a loved one have experienced worsening conditions or death due to a misdiagnosis, then contact our personal injury and medical malpractice lawyers today. We can help prevent further errors in medical judgments by holding the doctors accountable for their inaccuracies.
Failure to Diagnose & Medical Malpractice Lawyers
A misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis can have devastating effects on patients. Their conditionsmay worsen to the point that they will never fully heal, they could become permanently disabled, or worse, they could die. It is important to understand that an error in diagnosing a patient does not guarantee that a misdiagnosis lawsuit can be filed. There are certain points that a person must be able to prove in order to file suit against a doctor, nurse or healthcare facility, and an experienced medical malpractice attorney can help you determine whether or not you have a case.
Misdiagnosis Can Be Fatal
A misdiagnosis, or incorrect diagnosis, can be fatal in some circumstances. The wrong medications can be given, which could react poorly or harm the patient. And the underlying cause of the illness or condition will most likely worsen without the proper treatment. And a healthy person who is misdiagnosed could undergo harmful medication, tests and treatments that are completely unnecessary. However, doctors are not legally responsible for every error or mistake that might occur during a patient’s diagnostic procedures.
In order to file a medical malpractice lawsuit for misdiagnosis, three points must be proved by the patient or the person filing the claim:
- A doctor-patient relationship previously existed.
- The doctor acted negligently.
- This negligence had a direct effect on the patient’s well-being.
Negligence is a broad term that can cover inactions, failures to act and malicious acts. Everyone makes mistakes, and doctors are no different. Unfortunately, sometimes the capabilities of a doctor or facility’s staff members are not enough to save a person’s life. The major difference in the inability to treat or cure a patient and doctor negligence is whether the doctor acted competently and in the best interest of the patient.
So, what can count as negligence?
- If the doctor ignored symptoms or did not include them in a differential diagnostic list, and that a different, skilled doctor would have included these symptoms.
- If the doctor failed to order or perform tests that could validate or eliminate the diagnosis.
Other errors can occur during diagnostic testings. Faulty medical equipment or a lab worker or other staff member could make an error. In these cases, the doctor would not be held liable, but the lab worker or person responsible for the machine maintenance might be held responsible.
Delayed Diagnosis Can Put Your Life at Risk
Some medical conditions and illnesses can be tricky to diagnose. Certain easily identifiable symptoms may be missing or they could be attributed to two illnesses occurring at the same time. But when a doctor delays proper diagnosis that another doctor could reasonably have identified, you may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. Delaying the proper diagnosis could include telling an ill patient that they are healthy, resulting in the patient missing out on life-saving treatments.
Failure to Diagnose Cancer
Not all cancers are the same. Some of the more aggressive forms of cancer can be nearly impossible to treat once they’ve reached a certain stage. It’s important for everyone involved that cancer be identified and diagnosed as early as possible. If a doctor or medical team failed to diagnose cancer in you or a loved one, then a medical malpractice lawsuit may be viable. Facing a diagnosis of cancer is a life-changing experience, and at Warner, Sechrest & Butts, we understand the anxiety, frustration and confusion you likely feel. And we understand how angry a cancer misdiagnosis can make you and your loved ones feel. Contact our personal injury lawyers in Gainesville so we can discuss your case and help you or your loved ones receive compensation for your delayed diagnosis.
Medical Malpractice Lawyers in Gainesville
Overcoming the shock of hearing that you or a loved one has been misdiagnosed can be impossible. It’s scary to hear that a loved one might die due to a worsening condition, and you may feel completely powerless when you realize you’ve been the victim of a delayed diagnosis. You don’t have to face the fight alone, however. Talk with our medical malpractice lawyers and you’ll find a team of hard-working Gainesville attorneys who are ready to ensure others are not at the same risk for misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. Only by standing up and setting an example can you hope to inspire change.