Medical Malpractice and Failure to Diagnose
When people are sick or injured, they should be able to trust medical professionals and institutions to provide safe and competent care. Medical professionals are legally and ethically bound to provide care that meets the accepted standard, or that which would be provided by a similarly trained medical professional in the same situation.
Unfortunately, thousands of people in the United States are injured or killed each year as a result of medical malpractice. Medical malpractice involving failure to diagnose is one common type of negligence. Medical malpractice lawyers at Foley Law Firm assist individuals in Scranton, Stroudsburg, and Wilkes-Barre, PA, in pursuing compensation for damages when failure to diagnose causes injury, extended illness, or death.
Understanding “Failure to Diagnose”
“Failure to diagnose” is a type of medical malpractice claim that can be filed when a medical professional fails to diagnose a condition, misdiagnoses a patient with the wrong condition, or delays diagnosing a serious and/or progressive condition. In many cases, the sooner that a condition is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat. If a patient is not diagnosed in a timely manner, it often has devastating consequences, including:
- More advanced illness
- The need for more aggressive and invasive treatment
- Prolonged illness/injury
How Does Failure to Diagnose Occur?
Medical professionals are human beings, so they are not expected to be perfect. However, they are obligated to deliver care that meets the accepted standard. If they are negligent or careless in their treatment of a patient, they should be held accountable for medical malpractice damages. Some of the avoidable errors that most commonly lead to failure to diagnose include:
- Dismissal of patient complaints regarding symptoms
- Failure to recognize symptoms
- Failure to order appropriate diagnostic tests
- Failure to refer a patient to an appropriate specialist or more acute level of care
- Misinterpretation of diagnostic test results
- Failure to follow-up on and/or communicate diagnostic test results
- Miscommunication between medical personnel
- Misplaced paperwork or clerical errors
Compensation for Damages
If a medical professional or medical institution is negligent in their care and makes a diagnostic error that leads to physical, emotional, and/or financial damages for the patient, then a medical malpractice claim should be filed. Medical malpractice victims (or surviving family members) have the right to pursue compensation for both the economic and non-economic losses related to failure to diagnose. Depending on the details of each case, individuals may be due compensation for:
- Medical expenses (past and future)
- Cost of therapy and/or rehabilitation
- Cost of assistive medical devices or equipment
- Cost of prescription medication
- Lost wages
- Loss of wage earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Diminished quality of life
- Wrongful death losses (funeral and burial expenses, loss of income/benefits, loss of consortium, etc.)
Request a Consultation
If you or a loved one has suffered unnecessary illness or injury as a result of failure to diagnose, you likely have grounds to file a medical malpractice claim. To discuss the details of your situation with the lawyers at Foley Law Firm, send us a message online, or call (570) 342-8194 and request a legal consultation.