Time is of the essence in treating diseases. A missed or delayed diagnosis of a patient’s symptoms can prevent the start of proper treatment and cause unnecessary suffering or death. Unfortunately, misdiagnosis is a common form of medical malpractice.
Doctors, nurses and other medical professionals have a variety of tests and diagnostic tools at their disposal to investigate a patient’s symptoms and diagnose disease. When physicians fail to diagnose a condition, it is often due to their misuse of these tools, or human error. Often, it involves a simple act of carelessness. In other cases, the diagnostic error may be the product of a series of breakdowns within the medical care facility’s system. Many times a medical malpractice lawyer can file a lawsuit on behalf of a client which then results in the medical facility greatly increasing their quality of care, or changing outdated procedures, which results in improved medical care and lives saved.
Typical acts of negligence that lead to a missed or delayed diagnosis include:
Hospital and emergency room physicians, nurses and assistants may make errors because they are busy or fatigued. Still, these are not valid excuses. Medical professionals have a legal obligation to provide care that exhibits the skill and knowledge ordinarily used under the same or similar circumstances by other medical professionals.
If you believe that you or a loved one has been harmed by a diagnosis that was wrong or delayed, you may have a valid medical malpractice claim against the medical care providers involved with your case. Depending on your case, multiple individuals may be responsible for the misdiagnosis, including:
It could be that the medical practice, hospital or clinic is liable for a missed diagnosis because its policies are outdated or otherwise faulty. Records may show a pattern of failing to follow protocols that are aimed at preventing diagnostic errors.
A medical malpractice claim must persuade a jury that the defendant failed to use the appropriate degree of care necessary to promptly and accurately diagnose the plaintiff’s condition. Evidence must also show that the plaintiff’s undue suffering was a result of this negligence.
Developing such a claim requires obtaining and reviewing all medical records connected to the case, including having them analyzed by qualified medical experts. Other evidence may come from sworn testimony, or “depositions,” from doctors and others connected to the care you received.
Evidence may turn up several factors that led to a delayed or missed diagnosis. Records and/or testimony may show conflicts between what diagnostic tests indicated and what lab techs or a doctor recorded. Dates and times on records may indicate the length of time between a patient’s first complaints and a final diagnosis. Depositions could demonstrate miscommunication or even a misunderstanding of hospital protocols for developing and reporting a patient’s diagnosis.
Medical malpractice lawsuits are usually complex and require time, effort and resources to develop.
If you suspect that you or your loved one has been harmed by a delayed or improper medical diagnosis, you owe it to yourself to investigate the circumstances of your case. You may have a valid legal claim and a right to compensation for your financial losses as well as for your pain and suffering.
A medical malpractice attorney from Sansone, Sumner & Lauber can work with you to examine your case for a potential medical malpractice claim. We will dedicate an attorney to you and allow a medical expert to review your case. We can explain all of the legal options available to you.
If we can pursue a claim for you, we will do so vigorously and without charging you a cent unless and until we obtain compensation for you.
Please contact Sansone, Sumner & Lauber today for a free initial consultation and investigation of your case. We are based in St. Louis and serve clients throughout Missouri and Illinois.