Even the right diagnosis can lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit.
That is because when the diagnosis is not timely, a patient could be seriously injured or die from a treatable condition or illness.
When you think of medical malpractice claims, you typically think of a physician’s error leading to a patient’s injury – such as a botched surgery. However, most malpractice cases result from indirect harm, such as misdiagnosing or delaying diagnosis.
Why is Delayed Diagnosis a Malpractice Issue?
Delayed diagnosis means that the patient’s condition was not discovered in a timely manner; therefore, the patient was injured or died due to a delay in treatment.
For example, a patient has a treatable type of cancer. They visit their family physician who fails to diagnose that cancer for a few months. By the time the cancer is diagnosed by the physician, it has metastasized and is no longer treatable. Now, the patient has only a few months to live.
In this case, the doctor did not cause a physical injury to the patient. Instead, their error indirectly harmed the patient. Had the patient received the right diagnosis, he or she would have been treated and would not have died.
Proving Delayed Diagnosis: The Three Basic Elements
To prove the delayed diagnosis, you must establish three basic elements.
A Doctor-Patient Relationship Exists
You must first show that there was a doctor-patient relationship. That means the physician you are accusing of malpractice was the physician in charge of your care. Even if you only saw that doctor once for a diagnosis, they would be responsible.
Usually, this is the easiest part of a malpractice case, because you will have insurance statements and medical records showing the doctor was treating you.
If your doctor fails to provide you with the quality of care expected of a reasonably competent doctor, then he or she is negligent. However, you must show that they failed to provide the standard of care accepted by others of the same profession. That involves showing the standard of care and how they breached it by using a medical expert to testify.
Harm Caused by Negligence
Lastly, you must show that the injuries and costs you sustained were the direct results of the doctor’s negligence. This includes the cost of medical treatments, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and pain and suffering.
Injured by a Delayed Diagnosis? Contact an Attorney Today
If you were misdiagnosed or suffered an injury because of a doctor’s delayed diagnosis, you could qualify for compensation. To explore your options, speak with a medical malpractice attorney by calling Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC. Schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today or request more information online.