Featured News 2016 Medical Malpractice Based on Delayed Diagnosis

Medical Malpractice Based on Delayed Diagnosis

When most people hear about medical malpractice, they automatically think about mistakes made by doctors, such as too much medication, or accidentally cutting a nearby organ during surgery. What many people don't realize is that a great deal of medical malpractice cases stem from doctors who failed to diagnose a patient in a timely manner – known as a delayed diagnosis.

Why is delayed diagnoses medical malpractice?

In the case of delayed diagnoses, the patient would have been harmed anyway if their condition was left alone. However, if the patient had been diagnosed properly when they sought help from a doctor, they could have had a better outcome. Sometimes a timely diagnoses means the difference between life and death, especially if it's heart disease or cancer.

Let's say a patient was in the early stages of cancer and she visited a doctor, who referred her to an oncologist. When she visited the oncologist, he failed to properly diagnose her with cancer. It wasn't until many months later that the oncologist discovered the cancer. By this time, it was too late, the cancer spread throughout her body and she passed away.

While the oncologist did not cause her death, if he had caught the cancer in the beginning, her death likely could have been delayed, if not prevented entirely. Therefore, the deceased patient's family may have a medical malpractice claim for delayed diagnoses against the oncologist who failed to diagnose her with cancer in the early stages.

For there to be a valid claim, the following must be true:

  • A doctor-patient relationship existed
  • The doctor must have been negligent
  • The patient must have been harmed as a direct result of the doctor's negligence

In delayed diagnoses cases, there needs to be expert testimony from another doctor (under the guidance of the medical malpractice lawyer) who practices the same type of medicine. In the example above, an oncologist who specializes in the same field would review the patient's tests and medical records to see if he or she would have caught the cancer under the same circumstances.

If it can be proven that the doctor was negligent, the injured patient or in the case of a wrongful death, their surviving family members would be entitled to valuable compensation. To learn more, contact a medical malpractice attorney for legal advice.

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