Failure to Diagnose
A missed diagnosis, sometimes referred to as a “failure to diagnose,” is a form of medical malpractice in which a health care professional does not diagnose a serious illness or medical condition that is affecting a patient, and which a reasonably prudent health care professional would diagnose under the same or similar circumstances.
Also a form of medical malpractice, a delayed diagnosis occurs when as health care professional delays in diagnosing a serious illness or medical condition that is affecting a patient, and which a reasonably prudent health care professional would have diagnosed earlier under the same or similar circumstances.
Common Misdiagnosed Conditions
A missed diagnosis or delayed diagnoses may be referred to as a “misdiagnosis.” Unfortunately, misdiagnosis of medical conditions is not uncommon. Some of the most commonly misdiagnosed conditions include the following illnesses and injuries:
- Aortic dissection;
- Blood clots;
- Breast cancer;
- Colon cancer;
- Deep vein thrombosis;
- Heart attack;
- High cholesterol;
- Infection or sepsis;
- Labor and delivery complications, leading to birth injuries in newborn babies;
- Lung cancer;
- Prostate cancer;
- Pulmonary embolism;
- Rectal cancer; and
Why does misdiagnosis occur?
There are numerous reasons for a misdiagnosis, including the following situations:
- Distraction of the health care professional who is treating the patient;
- Errors in reading medical test results;
- Failure to differentiate among medical conditions that have similar or common symptoms;
- Failure to pay close enough attention to a patient’s complaints and symptoms to diagnose the patient’s illness;
- Failure to recognize the patient’s symptoms;
- Failure to spend enough time with a patient to develop a full medical history; or
- Poor sampling techniques for medical tests.
The consequences of a misdiagnosis may be devastating, or even fatal, for the patient. For example, a doctor may fail to diagnose an illness in its early stages if the doctor does not identify the symptoms. As a result, the patient will suffer from the sickness indefinitely. In other cases, the doctor may delay to diagnose a progressive illness like diabetes or cancer, and the delay may allow the disease to develop severe complications (such as amputations or loss of eyesight in diabetes) or spread to other parts of the body (as in many cancers). Sometimes, too, with acute conditions like appendicitis, heart attack, or stroke, a failure to diagnose the condition may lead to the patient’s death.
A misdiagnosis may deprive you or a loved one of the chance to fight a serious disease like cancer, diabetes, or heart disease, or to make informed decisions about your health. The misdiagnosis may also result in expensive treatments and medical bills as well as financial losses. The financial losses may include lost wages from time you missed work and the value of lost future wages. You may also endure pain and suffering, for which you may be able to obtain legal compensation under Florida law. In severe cases, a misdiagnosis may result in permanent injury or death.
Contact a Misdiagnosis Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one has been injured by a missed or delayed diagnosis, or believe you may have, please seek appropriate medical treatment immediately. Then please contact us for a free and confidential consultation about your case. You may contact us online or phone us at 305-372-0123 (local) or (866) 769-0123 (toll-free) to arrange your consultation. At no charge, you can tell us about your experience and learn how the legal system may handle your case. We look forward to hearing from you and to working with you.