Most medical conditions are progressive diseases which require timely diagnosis. Even the gravest medical illness benefits from early diagnosis and early treatment. The failure to diagnose a patient's medical condition will often allow the patient to suffer for a prolonged period of time and in some instances suffer irreversible health damage. The affected patient is doubly harmed while prolonging their suffering and postponing, and at times denying, lifesaving treatment to be properly initiated.
The greater the delay in diagnosing a medical condition, the lower the chances for full (or even meaningful) recovery. Similarly, the greater the delay in commencing the appropriate treatment, the lower the chances for full recovery. In situations such as heart attacks, stroke, fetal distress and brain injury, a longer diagnosis to treatment interval is reflected in the increase of complications and decrease in successful recovery and long term outcome.
The most common diseases that are often the result of medical malpractice include:
Failure to diagnose any type of cancer (breast cancer, cervical cancer, colon cancer, endometrial cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, rectal cancer)
Failure to diagnose a heart attack (myocardial infarction)
Failure to diagnose infection (appendicitis, endocarditis, chorioamnionitis, bacterial meningitis)
Failure to properly screen a patient prior to the performance of a surgical procedure
Failure to diagnose a postoperative complication
Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis is not always the result of medical malpractice. Excellent physicians are often surprised at the difficulty to make an accurate diagnosis in some patients. Some illnesses or injuries may not become immediately evident even to the best trained physicians.
Nonetheless, a medical misdiagnosis will be considered to be the result of medical malpractice when the medical provider (physician, nurse practitioner, midwife) fails to take the appropriate measures in accordance with the acceptable standard of care under similar circumstances. Causes that lead to a medical misdiagnosis include:
Failure to take a complete medical history (including a complete family history)
Failure to determine risk factors or predispositions to certain disease
Failure to determine a patient's history of allergies
Failure to screen high risk patients for a particular medical condition
Failure to establish a differential diagnosis based on the patient's signs and symptoms (complaints)
Failure to order the appropriate tests to confirm or rule out a particular diagnosis
Failure to follow up on abnormal tests results
Failure to order a repeat test for inconclusive results
Failure to identify that a test result is abnormal for a particular patient
failure to monitor a patient after treatment has been started
Failure to make the appropriate referral to another physician more qualified in a particular area of medicine (specialist)
Failure to biopsy
Failure to reevaluate a diagnosis after the patient's fails to respond to treatment
Failure to properly interpret test results
Failure to act in a timely manner after test results become available
Premature discharge from hospital
If you (or a loved one) are suffering from complications due to a failure to timely diagnose (cancer, heart attack, stroke, infection), let Dr. Borten and the Boston area medical malpractice attorneys at Gorovitz & Borten review the specifics of your case. We can help you assert your rights and get the compensation you deserve.
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