For most people, making the decision to go to the doctor involves a lot of prompting and often significant pain. Once a person has walked into the doctor’s office or emergency room, he has placed his faith in the fact that the doctor is going to be able to diagnose the problem and take affirmative steps to help the patient with different treatment options. However, this does not always happen. What many people do not realize is that many times, the doctor does not diagnose the right ailment or delays the diagnosis to the point where serious harm results.
There are several types of diagnosis errors, which are:
- A complete failure to diagnose the problem – this happens when the doctor does not make the connection between the patient’s symptoms and described concerns and a medical condition. This results in a failure to prescribe any treatment, leading to a progression of the ailment, serious injury, and sometimes death.
- Misdiagnosis – after learning about the symptoms and performing some medical tests, the doctor erroneously diagnoses the wrong medical condition, leading to the incorrect treatment being prescribed. The treatment may cause additional harm to the patient or it could simply prevent the amelioration of the condition that would have resulted from the proper treatment.
- Delayed diagnosis – a doctor may simply take too long to understand the connection between the patient’s symptoms and the correct diagnosis, leading to harm due to the delay. Many times, a patient will return to the doctor several times complaining of the same issues before the doctor finally makes the correct diagnosis.
One of the most common reasons for bringing a medical malpractice action against a doctor is a failure to diagnose or a misdiagnosis of a medical condition. This error may lead to improper treatment that does harm to the patient while failing to help the actual medical condition. It also may lead to delays that allow the actual ailment to progress to a point where treatment is less effective. Many times, a failure to diagnose will lead to serious injury or death. Although there are many different types of missed diagnoses, some of the more common surround the following issues:
- Pulmonary embolisms
- Heart attacks, particularly in women
- Aortic dissections
There are many misdiagnoses surrounding different types of cancers, including prostate and testicular cancer.
Although there are times when a delay in the diagnosis is not malpractice, it is important to understand the circumstances that do support a claim of malpractice. When analyzing this type of situation, the question is what another doctor who was reasonably skilled would have done when confronted with the same facts. The inquiry might involve the following:
- Did the doctor collect comprehensive information about the patient’s professional and social life as well as medical history?
- Did the doctor establish whether the patient had any risk factors for certain diseases and medical conditions?
- Was there something in the patient’s medical history that prompted a specific type of test or further analysis?
- Did the symptoms that the patient experienced present enough information to make the correct diagnosis in a relatively short period of time?
- Did the doctor perform a thorough examination and order appropriate tests for a person complaining of specific symptoms?
- Did the doctor misinterpret the test results?
When a patient has gone to a doctor and been forthcoming about all the symptoms and factors that should have led to the proper diagnosis, but the doctor made a mistake, the patient may have a medical malpractice claim against the doctor.
Murphy & Associates Get Justice for Victims of Medical Malpractice
When a person’s faith in his doctor is betrayed by a serious mistake that led to significant harm, he needs the skilled and compassionate Kentucky Medical Malpractice Attorneys at Murphy & Associates, PLC. We will work with the victim and his family in order to get the best results possible. To discuss what happened to you or a loved one, please call us at (502) 443-1360.