Misdiagnosing or failing to diagnose medical conditions is more common than you might think. In fact, failure to diagnose accounts for roughly 40% of all medical malpractice cases that are filed within the United States, making it the #1 most common form of medical malpractice. With so many failures to diagnose malpractice cases, it is important to understand what exactly constitutes failure to diagnose, especially if you are considering filing a medical malpractice claim against a doctor on your child’s behalf. Understanding if your child has a case will help your family in the long run.
Failure to diagnose occurs if a doctor isn’t able to diagnose the medical condition altogether, or if the condition is misdiagnosed.
Common Diseases Misdiagnosed
Simply put, failure to diagnose occurs if a doctor doesn’t identify a medical condition that his or her patient has. Sometimes, doctors just don’t identify the medical condition at all, or they think that it is one thing when it is really something else, and end up treating patients for the wrong medical condition. Some common diseases that doctors fail to diagnose or misdiagnose are:
- Allergies and allergic reactions
- Diabetes-related symptoms
- Lyme disease
Why They Might Fail to Diagnose or Misdiagnose
You might be wondering, “how in the world could trained professionals fail to diagnose such common medical conditions?” Failure to diagnose usually occurs as a result of one of the following:
- Regular screenings were not performed (for example, for women, breast cancer can be misdiagnosed if regular breast cancer screenings are not performed).
- Failing to recognize symptoms.
- Failing to pay attention to complaints that a patient has.
- Diagnosing a tumor as benign when it is really cancerous.
- Wrong analysis of test results.
- Not sending a patient to a specialist.
- Not setting up follow-up appointments with patients.
- Not ordering tests that should be done based on a patient’s symptoms.
As you can see, a lot of these mistakes occur out of carelessness or a lack of focus on the doctor’s part.
Do I Have a Case?
In some cases, failure to diagnose can be serious, but in others, it is not. In some cases, failure to diagnose is not worthy of medical malpractice because it does not really affect the patient’s health. This is oftentimes the case with minor medical conditions in which mistreatment does not become an issue. However, failure to diagnose can also have serious effects on the outcome of treatment. If your child’s doctor failed to diagnose a medical condition, ask yourself these questions:
- Was it too late for my child to receive treatment options because of the failure to diagnose
- Did the failure to diagnose create more visits to my child’s doctor and more expensive treatment?
- Did it permanently affect my child’s health?
- Did my child have to get an expensive surgery because it was too late for other options?
- Did the failure to diagnose result in medical complications?
- Is my child’s projected lifespan shorter because of the failure to diagnose?
- Did the failure to diagnose cause the death of my child?
If your answer is yes to one or more of these questions, you probably have a legitimate medical malpractice claim. If you are in this situation, you need to start building a solid case for your child, so that your family can get the compensation that you deserve.