When you seek medical treatment, you expect your physician or medical provider to diagnose your condition correctly and prescribe a treatment plan that gives you the best chance of recovery. Even though you do not receive a guarantee that a course of medical treatment will work, you do expect the doctor to do everything reasonably within his or her power to ensure success, including diagnosing your condition correctly. When a doctor or medical provider fails to diagnose a medical condition, the outcome can be catastrophic. Failure to diagnose can cause severe injuries and death.
Is Failure to Diagnose Medical Malpractice?
Yes, failure to diagnose can rise to the level of medical malpractice. Correctly diagnosing a medical condition sets the foundation for your course of treatment. When a medical provider or doctor fails to diagnose a medical condition, medical treatment may be delayed, or the wrong treatment may be used. Any delay or failure to diagnose can have deadly consequences for the patient.
Proving a Failure to Diagnose was Medical Malpractice
You must prove the elements of medical malpractice to recover compensation for a failure to diagnose claim. In Maryland, that involves two key elements:
- The physician deviated from the medical practices or standards accepted within the medical community; and,
- The deviation in medical practices or standards was a direct and proximate cause of the patient’s injury or death.
A failure to diagnose case often involves proving that the doctor or medical provider did not use adequate diagnostic procedures based on acceptable medical standards. For instance, a patient complains of symptoms that could indicate a broken rib. Instead of performing x-rays, CT scans, or MRIs, the doctor relied solely on an outward physical examination to diagnose the patient.
If the medical standard based on the symptoms presented by the patient would have been to conduct one or more imaging tests, the doctor may have committed medical malpractice in failing to conduct these tests. Even if the tests were done, the doctor might have committed malpractice if he ignored the results or interested the results in a manner not consistent with standard medical practices.
Medical professionals are used to provide expert testimony that the procedures used or not used were not consistent with standard medical practices. In addition, a medical professional must link your injury or the death of your family member directly to the failure to diagnose for you to recover compensation in a medical malpractice claim. Failure to diagnose cases are complex medical malpractice claims. We urge you to contact our Maryland medical malpractice attorneys as quickly as possible to discuss the details of your situation.
Examples of Failures to Diagnose in a Maryland Medical Malpractice Claim
Many examples of failures to diagnose exist in the medical field. Some common examples of failures to diagnose that can lead to a medical malpractice claim include:
- Failing to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack, cancer, stroke, or other serious medical condition
- Misinterpreting the results of mammograms, MRIs, CT scans, or x-rays
- Failing to conduct diagnostic tests, such as blood tests and imaging tests
- Negligence in failing to recommend a specific medical procedure, such as a c-section, when necessary to treat a medical condition
- Unreasonable delay in ordering diagnostic tests
Consequences of a Failure to Diagnose
A failure to diagnose can lead to prescription errors, unnecessary surgery, failure to perform surgery, and other life-threatening mistakes. The results of a failure to diagnose can be life-changing for patients and family members. Some of the potential outcomes of a failure to diagnose include:
- Damage to internal organs, including kidneys, lungs, heart, bladder, bowels, etc.
- Advanced stage cancer
- Brain damage
If you or a family member has been injured because a medical provider failed to diagnose a medical condition, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages.
Compensation in a Failure to Diagnose Medical Malpractice Claim
Once you prove that your injuries were caused by a doctor’s failure to diagnose, you must prove that you suffered damages because of the negligence and medical malpractice. The value of a failure to diagnose claim depends on numerous factors, including the severity of your injury, your financial damages, and whether you suffered permanent disability or impairment.
Common damages in a medical malpractice claim involving a failure to diagnose include:
- Cost of medical care and personal care
- Lost income, including future lost wages and loss of earning capacity
- Loss of consortium
- Physical pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Emotional suffering and mental anguish
- Wrongful death damages
Our Maryland medical malpractice lawyers can discuss the potential value of your medical malpractice claim and your legal options during a free consultation.
Contact a Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorney for Help with Your Failure to Diagnose Claim
For a free case review by a Parkville medical malpractice attorney, call Pinder Plotkin LLC at 410-661-9440 to speak with a member of our legal team.