As indicated by the name, failure to diagnose is a legal term that describes a medical professional’s failure to identify a patient’s medical issue. As a result, the patient often fails to receive the appropriate or necessary treatment in a timely manner. Depending on the nature of the undiagnosed and untreated condition, the patient may experience avoidable progression of the condition and other complications from lack of treatment. In severe cases, failure to diagnose may lead to the patient’s death.
Causes of Failure to Diagnose
Failure to diagnose typically refers to a failure to identify and treat a medical issue by means of complete lack of identification or misdiagnosing a medical condition as another issue. In all failure to diagnose cases, the patient does not receive adequate treatment to cure or improve the condition. Failure to diagnose may be the result of faulty equipment, difficult or misleading conditions and symptoms. Failure to diagnose may also be the result of negligence or error on the part of the doctor.
Failure to diagnose may occur as a result of:
- Faulty medical and diagnostic equipment
- Symptoms that are atypical, nonexistent, or difficult to identify
- Failure of the patient to notify doctors of certain symptoms
- Improper conduction of a physical examination by a doctor
- Failure of a doctor to perform regular medical screenings
- Failure to identify potential indications of medical issues
- Failure to acknowledge and investigate a patient’s symptoms
- Failure to order adequate testing when indicated
- Misinterpretation of test results
- Failure to provide adequate follow-up care
- Delayed referral to a more specialized doctor
Common Failure to Diagnose Conditions
Failure to diagnose may occur more often with certain conditions, which include, but are not limited to:
- Heart attack and stroke
- Diabetic reactions, such as diabetic coma and ketoacidosis
- Anaphylaxis and other allergic reactions
- Gastrointestinal tract infections caused by parasites
- Pulmonary embolism
- Meningitis in children
Failure to Diagnose Cancer
Cancer is one of the most common conditions that experiences failure to diagnose. Common cancers that do not receive diagnosis include colorectal cancer, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and lung cancer. Melanoma, a less common type of skin cancer, may also experience failure to diagnose.
Complexity of Cancer Symptoms
Failure to diagnose is common in cancer patients due to the complex nature and progression of cancer. Cancer symptoms may be difficult to identify. In many cases, patients do not exhibit symptoms until the advanced and more dangerous stages of the disease. Failure to diagnose or a delayed diagnosis of cancer may lead to severe complications and death.
Negligence and Failure to Diagnose
Not all failure to diagnoses cases are caused by the medical professional’s negligence. Even when exercising reasonable care, errors in diagnosis may still occur. This is an important distinction when determining if the patient is legally eligible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the medical professional who cared for the patient during the failure to diagnose.
Determining Failure to Diagnose
Clients should seek an experienced failure to diagnose lawyer to determine eligible cases. When determining failure to diagnose cases, the legal standard is to compare the medical professional’s actions to the actions that would have been taken by a medical professional with similar knowledge, experience, and expertise. This is referred to as the standard of care, or reasonable care. Failure to diagnose becomes a legal issue when the medical professional in question fails to meet the industry’s standard of care by acting negligently or incompetently.
Orlando Failure to Diagnose Lawyers
Dublin’s Royal College of Surgeons conducted an analysis of medical malpractice lawsuits against primary care doctors in the U.S., France, Australia, and Canada. According to the data, it is estimated that between 26 and 63 percent of medical malpractice claims are related to failure to diagnose and other diagnosis errors. The second most common medical malpractice claim was medication errors such as errors in prescriptions and adverse drug reactions. Contact our Orlando failure to diagnose lawyers for your free consultation today.
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Malik, Iqbal. “Failure to diagnose angina is dangerous to the patient’s health.” Heart Jan. 2003: 117. Academic OneFile. Web. 26 Mar. 2014.