Diagnostic errors present a dangerous and real problem in the healthcare industry that could be harmful or even deadly. Patients can suffer unnecessary physical and financial injuries if a doctor fails to diagnose, misdiagnoses, or misses a diagnosis. When these issues arise, patients have the right to hold the negligent party responsible and pursue compensation. Still, diagnostic error matters can be complicated and challenging to navigate, so it would be in the best interest of injured parties to hire an attorney to help with their cases.
Understanding Diagnostic Errors
Three of the most prominent diagnostic errors doctors can make include misdiagnosis, missed diagnosis, and delayed diagnosis. Any of these can have harmful or even life-threatening consequences.
Below is an overview of the different diagnostic errors:
- Misdiagnosis: A doctor might attribute the patient’s symptoms to an illness or condition that turns out to be wrong.
- Missed diagnosis: The physician never identifies the cause of the patient’s symptoms.
- Delayed diagnosis: The medical practitioner identifies the illness or condition long after it should have been diagnosed.
The Possible Effects of Diagnostic Errors
Diagnostic errors can have severe repercussions on a patient’s health and well-being. These mistakes can cause great pain, suffering, and loss of quality of life due to the often harm sustained.
If a doctor fails to correctly and timely diagnose an illness or condition, the patient might receive incomplete or incorrect treatment. In the worst case, they might not receive any treatment at all. The lack of proper medical care can cause the patient’s illness to worsen or can lead to new conditions.
Furthermore, diagnostic errors can cause detrimental emotional and financial costs to the patient. The doctor might order unnecessary tests or prescribe unnecessary treatments. As a result, the patient might undergo more painful or invasive care to treat the initial error or the actual condition.
Overall, it is clear that a diagnostic error can significantly affect many aspects of a person’s life.
The Legal Process for Proving a Diagnostic Error
Proving medical malpractice in a mistaken diagnosis case is not simple. First, it must be stated that not all diagnostic errors are cause for a claim. Patients can suffer from various diseases or conditions, some of which have symptoms similar to other illnesses. Even highly competent physicians, ordering the correct tests and completing a full differential diagnosis, can make mistakes.
For a diagnostic error to be considered medical malpractice, the physician must have acted negligently.
To prove negligence, the patient must show that:
- A doctor-patient relationship existed.
- The physician’s actions or inactions were subpar. In other words, they did not treat the patient at the same level as a competent practitioner would have under similar circumstances.
- The diagnostic error led to damages. The patient must have suffered physical, emotional, and/or financial damages to seek compensation.
Steps Patients Can take to Pursue Justice in a Medical Malpractice Case
Taking legal action for medical malpractice can be complicated and time-consuming. Still, it is essential for protecting rights and holding wrongdoers accountable.
Those harmed because of a diagnostic error can retain the services of a personal injury attorney for help navigating their cases. An experienced lawyer can review relevant facts and circumstances to determine whether the doctor was negligent when diagnosing a patient. Additionally, they can help construct a legal strategy and work toward recovering compensation or other remedies.
If you need help with your case in Kansas City, schedule a consultation with Bertram & Graf, L.L.C. by calling us at (888) 398-2277.