Failure to Diagnose and Misdiagnosis DC Medical Malpractice Lawyer
When a person visits the doctor’s office, he or she expects to receive an accurate diagnosis, and an adequate treatment plan. Unfortunately, this is not always what happens.
Every year, 12 million people in the United States are impacted by medical diagnostic errors, leading to between 40,000 and 80,000 deaths.
Diagnostic errors come in several forms. Among them include wrong diagnosis, missed diagnosis, delayed diagnosis, failure to recognize complications, failure to diagnose a related disease, and failure to diagnose an unrelated disease. Accurate diagnoses are often difficult. They are complicated by the fact that several diseases have shared symptoms, like the flu, cold, and allergies, medications that a patient is taking may be contributing to the side effects, and more.
A doctor missing a diagnosis may mean that he or she was negligent. To prove negligence, four things must be shown.
The first is that there was a doctor-patient relationship at “the time in question.” If there was a doctor-patient relationship, then the doctor had a legal duty to care for the patient.
The second is that the doctor “breached” this duty, by failing to correctly diagnose the disease.
The third is that the doctor’s breach – his or her deviation from the applicable standard of care – actually and proximately caused the injury. Actual cause is a cause that leads “as a matter of fact” to the result. Proximate cause is a cause that can be considered to be at least one cause for a specific result.
In other words, a doctor has a legal duty to reasonably care for a patient, and diagnose a disease that a similar doctor with similar experience would have diagnosed. The patient must prove the failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis resulted in improper medical care, delayed treatment, or no treatment whatsoever. For example, in a delayed cancer diagnosis case that resulted in death, it needs to be shown that had the patient’s doctors noticed the cancer earlier, the decedent would have lived longer.
Some ways negligence can be proven is if you show the doctor failed to ask certain questions, forgot to send the blood test to the proper lab, and that these actions would not have occurred by a similar doctor. Due to the difficulty of some cases involving diagnostic errors, expert opinion may be required.
If you believe you or a loved one was the victim of a misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose, make sure you maintain medical records, doctors notes, photo and video documentation, and all other forms of correspondence.
It may be in your best interest to seek representation. Call the experienced attorneys at Cohen & Cohen today for a free case evaluation!