A diagnostic error occurs when a doctor fails to accurately diagnose a condition or diagnosis a condition too late for effective treatment. Since both circumstances can occur when treating patients, the criteria for medical negligence in these cases is based on the consideration of whether or not the behavior met the expected standard of care. In other words, would a similarly trained medical professional have made the same diagnostic error under the same circumstances? If the error is considered reasonable in relation to the situation, the doctor is not likely negligent. However, if the behavior was considered unreasonable, reckless, or unsafe, medical malpractice is a possibility.
Reasons for Misdiagnosis
A diagnostic error can occur for several reasons:
- Failing to include the actual diagnosis in the scope of possible diagnoses
- Faulty diagnostic equipment
- Contaminated test results
- Failure to acknowledge symptoms of a serious condition
Consequences of a Misdiagnosis
When a diagnostic error is made, patients can face several significant health risks. If an incorrect diagnosis is made, then the subsequent treatment is likewise incorrect. This means the patient’s actual medical condition will go untreated until a correct diagnosis is made. In some cases, a diagnosis is made where none exist. Thus, the patient receives a treatment that is virtually unnecessary and experiences the understandable stress and anxiety commonly felt following an upsetting diagnosis. A delayed diagnosis can result in a worsened medical condition if treatment is not begun early enough to effectively manage the condition.
Johns Hopkins research indicates that diagnostic errors monopolize the larger portion of medical malpractice claims, causing more harm and requiring more payouts than medication and surgical errors. If fact, research further shows that a diagnostic error is more than twice as likely to result in physical disability or death as other types of negligence. In order to successfully seek compensation for medical malpractice, however, the victim needs to be able to produce evidence that demonstrates the medical negligence.
If you have been injured as the result of a diagnostic error, contact the attorneys at Jacobs Law LLC for a consultation. Proficient in malpractice law, they have the necessary skill and experience to handle the complexities often associated with medical negligence cases. Call today or fill out our online contact form to contact Jacobs Law today. Their attorneys practice more than just law; they practice compassion. If you have been the victim of medical negligence, Jacobs Law will stand by you and fight to get you the compensation you deserve.