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Failure To Diagnose – Medical Malpractice

A large number of medical malpractice lawsuits stem from the misdiagnosis of a medical condition, illness, or injury. When a doctor’s diagnosis error leads to incorrect treatment, delayed treatment, or no treatment at all, a patient’s condition can be made much worse, and can result to the death of that patient. That being said, a mistake in diagnosis by itself is not enough to sustain a medical malpractice lawsuit.

The key is determining whether the doctor acted competently, which involves an evaluation of what the doctor did and did not do in arriving at a diagnosis.

Based on diagnostic error, the patient must prove that a doctor in a similar specialty, under similar circumstances, would not have misdiagnosed the patient’s illness or condition. This means proving one of two things:

  • The doctor did not include the correct diagnosis, and a reasonably skillful and competent doctor under similar circumstances would have.
  • The doctor included the correct diagnosis, but failed to perform appropriate tests  in order to investigate the viability of the diagnosis.

Errors in Diagnostic Tests

Sometimes a doctor fails to correctly diagnosis a condition because they relied on inaccurate results from laboratory tests. This can happen in one of two ways:

  • The diagnostic equipment was faulty.
  • Human error occurred — for example, the samples were contaminated or mixed up, the technician used an improper procedure, the test results were read incorrectly, or the technician or specialist missed something in an x-ray or pathology slide.

The patient must also prove that the doctor’s negligent misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis caused the patient’s injury or condition to progress beyond where it normally would have, had the correct diagnose been made in a timely manner, and that this progression had a negative impact upon treatment.

If you feel like your health has been wrongfully sabotaged due to a physicians negligent care, know that you can count on the professionals at Parvey & Cavenago to help you get the legal compensation you deserve.


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