Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis and Medical Malpractice

Negligence in the medical setting – a.k.a. medical malpractice – happens in many ways and within every setting in which patients are treated.  Be it at the physician’s office, a clinic, a hospital, nursing home, rehabilitation facility, or what have you, instances of medical malpractice will occur within the businesses doors.   

The experience of this Kingston medical malpractice attorney has revealed that misdiagnoses and delayed diagnoses are alarmingly common in the medical industry.  Readers should be advised that a misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis are indeed medical malpractice.  

A misdiagnosis occurs when the patient is diagnosed as having a condition that he or she does not have; the patient is diagnosed as having condition X when he or she actually suffers from condition Y or has no illness at all.  

A delayed diagnosis is just like it sounds; all the signs and symptoms of having a specific illness were present and the doctor should have made the diagnosis sooner, but failed to do so.  Such a delay can have very serious consequences for the patient; it could reduce the patient’s lifespan and cause death.  

Doctors typically rely on diagnostic testing in order to diagnose a patient’s medical issue.  To be clear, if someone other than the doctor completed the test improperly and the doctor reasonably relied on such bad test, the doctor may not be guilty of medical malpractice.  The doctor must have done something, or failed to do something, on his own account that amounted to negligence.  

Therefore, once a doctor patient relationship is formed, the medical professional that treated the patient must provide care with the skill and competence that of any other similarly situated doctor.  If the doctor was negligent during such relationship and such negligence injured the patient, the victim would have a plausible case for medical malpractice assuming that some sort of damages were sustained – pain and suffering, medical costs, lost wages, etc.  

Within instances of missed diagnoses and delayed diagnoses, a doctor can be held liable if he or she did not follow the proper system that which should have been used to identify the patient’s disease; history, symptoms, signs, tests, and listing the possible illnesses from most to least likely and so on.  Failing to follow the differential diagnosis guidelines is what this amounts to.  Even failures to refer patients to specialists for additional testing can be medical malpractice.  

As stated above, if the doctor reasonably relied on the results of test incorrectly administered by another medical professional, the treating doctor might not be liable for medical malpractice.  With that said, the person and or entity responsible for the test could be liable instead.

But what do you think?  I would love to hear from you!  Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected]  You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com

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