Is a Missed Diagnosis Considered Medical Malpractice?
Health issues can severely impact your quality of life. When you go to a general practitioner, a specialist, or the emergency room for a diagnosis and treatment of your ailments, it is reasonable for you to expect a high quality of care. Our society places a lot of trust in doctors and medical science to help nurse the sick and suffering back to health. But, doctors aren’t perfect — they don’t have an answer for every health problem. However, not being able to cure your condition is different than being medically irresponsible or negligent. When a doctor’s careless diagnosis causes you further health issues, you have legal recourse to hold either them or their institution financially responsible.
Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
The foundation of medical malpractice lawsuits is the principle of standard of care. All health professionals including doctors, nurses, surgeons, anesthesiologists, pharmacists, and others have to meet well-defined standards of care for their patients. Their professions directly affect the well-being of their patients, so it is important that they are held to a high standard. It is when they fall short of this standard, and when this negatively impacts their patient, that they are susceptible to a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Missed Diagnoses and Medical Malpractice
When it comes to a missed diagnosis, not every error is considered to be medical malpractice. Even top experts in their respective fields can make mistakes. It shouldn’t be surprising that in a discipline as complex as healthcare, doctors make diagnostic mistakes. Diagnosing patients isn’t as simple as consulting a few books from medical school and reading symptoms off of charts. So, how can you tell the difference between an honest error and malpractice?
A missed diagnosis is considered medical malpractice when a doctor does not competently perform a diagnosis. The operative word here is “competently.” A competent diagnosis entails that a doctor does his or her due diligence to arrive at a diagnosis, which involves a diagnostic methodology. It is when they irresponsibly diagnose a patient without following the protocol that they commit medical malpractice.
This can be difficult to prove, since there often aren’t records detailing the steps the doctor took to arrive at a diagnosis. Most of the evidence will thus be testimonial, and courts will usually take the doctor’s word over a patient’s because of their higher level of expertise. The usual way to go about proving that a missed diagnosis was medical malpractice is to demonstrate that another similar doctor with the same information would have made the correct diagnosis. This means proving that the errant doctor should have considered the right diagnosis but did not, or should have arrived at the correct conclusion given the information.
Medical Malpractice Attorney
Missed diagnoses can result in a number of negative consequences for patients, and the negligent doctor must be held accountable for exacerbating the poor health of their patients. If you have been a victim of medical malpractice of any kind, Troutman Law Firm is here to help. We have served personal injury victims in Central Florida for over 30 years. Come visit us for a free consultation to see if you have a case and if we can help you get the compensation you deserve. To schedule, please call 407-647-5002.