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MISTAKES WITH PATIENT DIAGNOSIS
So what exactly is a medical diagnosis? In essence, a diagnosis is the journey and ultimate arrival to pinpoint which disease or condition explains a person’s problematic signs and symptoms. The journey starts with collecting a patient “history” and often moves into using one or more diagnostic procedures, such as diagnostic tests, to ascertain the root cause of the patient’s problem.
It goes without saying, but getting the correct diagnosis is simply the key component to your health care. However, in multiple studies, it has been demonstrated that most of us will suffer from at least one wrong or delayed medical diagnosis during our lifetime. Just as importantly, a doctor’s failure to properly diagnose a medical condition can be just as harmful to a patient as cutting the wrong area with a scalpel.
The cause(s) of a doctor’s diagnosis mistake can be many, but some of the more common ones are: (1) bad communication between the physician and patient; (2) the modern fast pace system of health care which does not support a proper diagnostic process; (3) poor review and feedback about a doctor’s diagnostic performance; and, (4) a system which simply hinders transparency, so mistakes are swept under the rug and go unnoticed.
With regard to a malpractice claim, the bottom line is this: if a doctor improperly diagnoses a patient when other reasonably competent doctors would have made the correct medical call, and the patient is harmed by the improper diagnosis, then patient will usually have a good case for medical malpractice claim. It is important to recognize, however, that the doctor will only be liable for the harm caused by the improper diagnosis. So, if a patient dies (or is harmed) from a disease that the doctor improperly diagnoses, but the patient would have died (or been harmed) equally quickly even if the doctor had made a proper diagnosis, the doctor will likely not be liable for malpractice. On the other hand, a medical malpractice case would probably be viable if a proper diagnosis would have extended the patient’s life or prevented harm.
WE CAN HELP
Because medical malpractice cases follow a complex body of rules and often involve complicated medical questions, it is often essential to get advice or representation from a medical malpractice attorney, who will then call on expert witnesses to bolster your case. Again, the attorneys at Jackel & Phillips are experienced and trained (with proven results) to handle medical malpractice cases and will be happy to provide a free consultation to help guide you through the complicated process of assessing your potential malpractice case.