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Misdiagnosis/Failure to Diagnose a Medical Condition

Medical malpractice cases can arise from a doctor’s negligent behavior while performing treatment, or from a misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose. If a doctor fails to diagnose a serious illness or condition, the patient may not receive the treatment they need and could suffer a negative health result because of it. If you or a loved one were impacted by a misdiagnosis or diagnosis failure in New Orleans, the lawyers at John W. Redmann, L.L.C. are here to help.

When Does Misdiagnosis/Failure to Diagnose Become Medical Malpractice?

One of the major requirements for a medical malpractice case is that the patient has suffered harm because of the doctor’s actions. This means that a misdiagnosis alone is not enough to form a medical malpractice case. If a doctor misdiagnosed a condition and prescribed a medication, but no harm resulted, this would not meet the requirements for a medical malpractice case.

However, if a doctor’s failure to diagnose your illness meant you did not receive proper treatment, which resulted in further pain and development of your condition, you could have the basis for a personal injury lawsuit.

The other major requirement for medical malpractice cases is proving that the doctor acted negligently. While in court, the victim’s attorney will have to provide evidence that a reasonable doctor in the same conditions would have properly diagnosed the patient’s condition. The attorney will usually enlist the help of a skilled medical professional to do this.

Types of Diagnosis Errors

Three types of diagnosis errors can occur:

  • Misdiagnosis: When the doctor believes the patient has one condition, but it is actually something different.
  • Failure to diagnose: When the doctor misses any connection between the patient’s symptoms and condition and thus does not administer any treatment.
  • Delayed diagnosis: When the doctor diagnoses the condition correctly but fails to do so in a timely manner to prevent further harm.

Some conditions, like cancer, can be very harmful or even deadly to the patient if not treated quickly enough. For any diagnosis error, the result may be that the patient suffers more serious injury, illness, or death.

Differential Diagnosis

Differential diagnosis is the process by which medical professionals determine patients’ diseases or conditions. After conducting a preliminary exam of the patient, the doctor will make a list of possible conditions and test for them until they find a condition that fits.

In some cases, the doctor’s failure to place the patient’s actual condition on the differential diagnosis list can further a medical malpractice case. Similarly, if the doctor places the patient’s condition on a differential diagnosis list, but does not carry out proper testing to determine the accuracy of the diagnosis, this could also result in a malpractice claim.

Determining Liability

Not all scenarios that involve a diagnostic error are the fault of the practicing doctor. If you are not open with your doctor about your health status and develop a disease, the doctor is likely not liable. The same applies if your doctor prescribes you treatment, but you do not follow his recommendations.

In some cases, the diagnostic mistake may be due to a lab error. If the lab failed to perform some diagnostic tests correctly, and that was the cause of the misdiagnosis, then the lab technician may be liable instead of the doctor. However, when the labs are done correctly, and the doctor misinterprets them when another reasonable doctor would not have misinterpreted them, then the doctor is still at fault.

If you or a loved one has suffered harm because of a diagnostic error, you may be eligible for compensation. Our team at the Law Office of John W. Redmann, L.L.C. understands your pain, and we want to help. Contact us today for a consultation so that we can determine your eligibility for a personal injury claim and fight for your right to compensation.