FAILURE TO DIAGNOSE
If you are wondering, “Did my doctor fail to diagnose my condition,” causing the condition to worsen, leaving me in a much worse position than if it had been diagnosed in a timely manner? Sometimes failing to diagnose a condition can lead to serious medical problems and even death. A doctor is responsible for identifying symptoms and conditions. If a doctor sees symptoms, but cannot diagnose them, he should refer the patient to a specialist that can. Doctors should take into account the medical history of the person, as increased risk for certain diseases is an important part of the diagnostic process.
The diagnostic process should be in four steps:
- Gathering a list of symptoms and possible causes
- Prioritizing the list
- Ruling out or treating causes
- Begin with most urgent, and work down the list
Failing to diagnose may not just be the fault of the doctor. Laboratories and other medical professionals may not have been doing their job properly, causing or contributing to the problem. the most common type of action for “failure to diagnose” is cancer, as not catching it in time can cause it to spread, going to from an easily treatable Type 1 cancer, to a difficult to treat, or untreatable Stage 4 cancer. When this happens, a medical malpractice lawsuit usually results.
The failure to diagnose an orthopedic injury is also common. For example, an orthopedic doctor or radiologist does not notice a fracture on an X-ray, and the bone heals incorrectly. To correct this, the bone must be rebroken and set. This may result in disfigurement that cannot be corrected.
The first step to take if you feel that your doctor has failed to diagnose a condition, is to seek medical advice about your condition. It could be that the failure to diagnose will not have any impact on your treatment or well being, in which case there is no point in taking any legal action. If you have any questions, please call us at 718-261-8114.