When people visit the doctor they generally do not know what medical problem their symptoms indicate. Patients rely on their doctors to properly diagnosis their medical issue so they can receive prompt treatment. Unfortunately a doctor can fail to diagnose or misdiagnosis a patient’s symptoms. This can be detrimental to the patient’s health and should the patient suffer injury from the misdiagnosis the patient can sue the doctor for medical malpractice.
There are several reasons a doctor may fail to properly diagnose a patient’s medical problem. Some of those reasons are that the doctor did not:
- recognize the symptoms,
- read the tests correctly,
- listen to the patient’s concerns,
- order the proper tests, or
- refer the patient to a specialist.
Patients may also have symptoms that are difficult to identify, have more than one medical condition, may be seeing the wrong type of specialists, or have conflicts with the drugs they are already taking.
Failure to diagnose a patient’s condition is the cause of about forty percent of all medical malpractice lawsuits. Failure to diagnose can cause the patient to lose valuable time and once the condition is finally properly diagnosed the treatment that is then required is much more expensive, painful, and invasive than it would have been if the medical condition had been properly diagnosed at the time the patient initially sought treatment.
Failure to properly diagnose may also mean the difference between a patient recovering and death, especially in cases where the doctor failed to diagnose conditions such as cancer, meningitis, or heart attack. These are very serious conditions and the failure to properly diagnose them can constitute medical malpractice.
Doctors have a strict protocol they are supposed to follow to avoid making mistakes in diagnosing serious medical conditions. However serious problems can be missed because a doctor may be busy, tired, or in a hurry.
The majority of problems that occur during diagnosis can be prevented by following the correct procedures. By not following the procedures the consequences can cause serious problems to the patient’s health. If the patient suffers an injury as a result of the doctor not properly diagnosing the condition the patient may sue the doctor for medical malpractice.
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