Although many people think that medical malpractice occurs only when a doctor does something specific incorrectly (such as amputating the wrong limb), doctors can also be held liable for failing to diagnose illnesses, diseases or injuries. If a doctor fails to initially recognize an illness or disease, and that condition goes untreated, it may not be found for months or years. At that point, it is either much harder to treat the disease, illness or injury, or it may even become untreatable. Some statistics show that up to 40 percent of all medical malpractice claims are because of the failure to diagnose a problem.
Many medical malpractice cases that originate from a failure to diagnose are caused by the failure to diagnose a heart attack, appendicitis, or cancer (particularly lung, breast or colon). If left untreated, those conditions can lead to very rapid damage or death. There are many other conditions that are frequently undiagnosed, but they may not lead as quickly to severe damage to the body.
A doctor and other health care professionals have a duty to be aware of the obvious symptoms of certain medical conditions. Sometimes a patient will see a doctor with obscure symptoms or symptoms that a doctor cannot recognize, and in that situation it’s the responsibility of the doctor to determine the cause of those symptoms. If a patient has a family history of certain types of illnesses or diseases, the doctor should be even more aware of the patient’s likelihood of developing that illness or disease.
A failure to diagnose can happen for many reasons. The doctor may not order the proper tests or may not have the appropriate knowledge on the patient’s condition. The patient and doctor may not communicate effectively about the symptoms of the medical condition. The doctor may not properly take the patient’s medical history, which could lead to a proper diagnosis. A doctor may fail to order more tests when necessary.
Do you believe your doctor committed medical malpractice by failing to diagnose a condition you had? Do you believe that failure to diagnose led to additional health problems? If so, you may have a medical malpractice case. If you are inDallas, contact theDallasmedical malpractice attorneys at the Barber Law Firm at 866-986-1529. They will help you determine the next steps to take to receive compensation for your injury.