Missed Diagnoses and Delayed Diagnosis: When Medical Malpractice Occurs

Missed Diagnoses and Delayed Diagnosis: When Medical Malpractice Occurs

No matter if you have been suffering from a temporary ailment or one that has been affecting you for a long time, the diagnosis that you receive is important to you. Having a diagnosis for an illness or condition is one of the best ways that you can get started on proper treatment so that you are able to move forward in many aspects of your life. However, every year, individuals fail to receive the diagnoses necessary to get started on the right treatment and, because of this, lives are risked and even taken.

Every year, a large number of medical malpractice claims stem from misdiagnoses and delayed diagnoses of illnesses and conditions. Doctors sometimes make diagnosis errors that can lead to a delay in essential treatment, incorrect treatment options, or no treatment at all when it is needed. A patient’s condition can then be made worse and, in the most drastic cases, a patient could die to an incorrect diagnosis. Patients must be able to show that negligence occurred in their case as they move forward with a medical malpractice claim.

Showing That a Doctor Acted Negligently

Just because you believe that an error in diagnosis took place does not mean that a doctor acted in a negligent manner right off the bat. You must also be able to show that you had a specific doctor-patient relationship with the care physician, that the doctor did not provide treatment to you in a skillful manner, and that the negligence led to your injuries or worsened condition.

Even when a doctor is using reasonable care, sometimes misdiagnosis occurs. This is true in cases where a condition hides itself or masks itself as another condition and the doctor does not catch this. Doctors will use reason and do whatever it takes to diagnose your symptoms so that they can help you obtain the treatment you deserve. To tell if a doctor acted in a competent manner or not, you will have to evaluate what a doctor did and did not do when they arrived at a certain diagnosis.

For instance, you want to show that the doctor actually engaged in the process of “differential diagnosis.” This is a method that is used to identify a disease or condition by making a list of various disorders or illnesses that you could be suffering from in order of probability. The doctor will then go down the line, testing the strength of each diagnosis and making medical observations based on what they see. Medical observations will take place, tests will be ordered, and you might even be referred to various specialists. If none of these actions take place and you are simply written off by a care provider, this could mean that the doctor acted in a negligent fashion and did not go to the extents that a competent doctor would in that same position.

Here are just two ways that you can show that a doctor did not act competently based on the differential diagnosis method:

  • If you have been diagnosed with a disorder when it is too late for treatment and a reasonable doctor would have tested for this disorder under the circumstances.
  • If your doctor failed to perform tests or seek second opinions to find if your diagnosis was viable or not.

Did the Misdiagnosis Cause You Harm?  

Missed Diagnoses and Delayed Diagnosis: When Medical Malpractice OccursYou, as the patient, must also be able to show that the misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis in your case caused an unnecessary and difficult progression that was well beyond what could have been the case if you had been diagnosed correctly from the start. Perhaps the condition progressed so quickly and caused so much harm that it had a negative impact on your entire life and could affect everything you do in the future. As an example of one of the kinds of cases this that are seen all too often: Let’s say that a patient, after a lengthy process, was diagnosed with cancer. Because the diagnosis came so late, the cancer had time to worsen and further progress, which meant that the patient had to undergo a more severe treatment plan or, in the most drastic cases, passed away because their cancer no longer responded to treatment. This would be a prime example of a doctor waiting too long to make a diagnosis based on negligent acts.

There are also related cases where a doctor will sometimes diagnose a patient with a condition or illness that they do not actually have based on a lack of the correct tests. A patient might spend months believing that they have an aggressive form of cancer, only to find out that it was something not so serious in the end after some more tests are conducted. In the months leading up to these tests, the patient might have suffered anxiety, stress, and more. You have a right to compensation when you are afforded incorrect care and have to deal with the stressful aftermath of a misdiagnosis.

Do You Believe a Misdiagnosis Happened to You?  

Every year, many people are misdiagnosed in a variety of settings for ailments and conditions, such as heart attacks, strokes, meningitis, cancer, and more. This can lead to scary results and unnecessary stress for those who have suffered due to their care provider’s negligence. Whether you have suffered from a misdiagnosis altogether due to your doctor’s negligence, missed diagnosis, a failure for your doctor to recognize complications, or a complete delay in diagnosis that leads to lack of treatment you deserve, you have rights.

At Brady, Brady & Reilly, our experienced medical malpractice attorneys in New Jersey have handled a wide variety of cases involving delayed or missed diagnoses. When you believe that a care provider has not given you the level of care that you deserve, we want you to know that you have many rights in the midst of your case. Our skilled personal injury attorneys have what it takes to help you gain the compensation you deserve. Please call us today for more information at (201) 997-0030.