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What Is Failure to Diagnose?

What Is Failure to Diagnose?

Failure to diagnose is the most common reason that patients sue doctors for malpractice. If you believe a doctor has failed to diagnose a serious medical condition, consult an attorney immediately.

But what exactly does it mean to fail to diagnose? The answer to this question could be the difference between life and death if you have a serious medical condition.

If you or a loved one believes that a New York doctor failed to diagnose a medical condition and that the failure caused additional suffering, contact the law firm of Silberstein, Awad & Miklos. Our experienced lawyers will inform you of your legal options during a free consultation.

Failure to Diagnose

When you go to a doctor for a diagnosis, they are supposed to observe your symptoms and identify the condition affecting you. If the doctor fails to make a proper diagnosis, it may be a form of medical malpractice called failure to diagnose.

A doctor is expected to observe all symptoms and make an appropriate diagnosis based on those observations. They may be negligent if they ignore signs or don’t make the proper connection. That negligence makes the doctor liable for any harm you suffer from the failed diagnosis.

Delayed Diagnosis

Sometimes a doctor will diagnose a serious condition after initially failing to do so; this is called delayed diagnosis. It is closely associated with failure to diagnose because it often has similar consequences, especially if the diagnosis is made after it’s too late effectively treat the ailment.

Consequences of a Failure to Diagnose

Without a proper diagnosis, it is almost impossible to treat an illness. At best, a doctor might be able to treat the symptoms, but the underlying condition will usually remain. The consequences are typically minimal if a minor ailment like the common cold is not appropriately diagnosed. The illness might last longer than usual, but the patient should be fine otherwise. However, when a serious condition isn’t diagnosed, a patient might suffer from the following:

  • Additional ailments
  • Worsening of the ailment
  • An increase in symptoms
  • Complications that make the condition more challenging to treat
  • Physical and emotional distress
  • Increased medical expenses
  • Difficulty working
  • Disability
  • Death

If you had been properly diagnosed, you could have received treatment that would have prevented this additional harm.

Proving a Failure to Diagnose

Just because a doctor failed to diagnose your condition doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily guilty of malpractice. To prove malpractice, your attorney must also show that the doctor was negligent and you suffered damage due to that negligence.

There are many reasons that a doctor might legitimately fail to diagnose your condition. For example, if the doctor relied on incorrect test results, they could be justified in failing to identify a severe medical condition.

Your attorney must prove that another doctor with roughly the same qualifications would likely have correctly diagnosed your ailment. In some cases, other doctors may be able to make this diagnosis just by looking at your medical charts. But in other cases, you might need to be evaluated by another doctor.

Finally, your lawyer needs to prove that the failure to diagnose resulted in additional harm that would not have occurred if you had been properly diagnosed. This proof may require the testimony of a medical expert.

Ailments Where Failure to Diagnose Is Most Common

While failure to diagnose is a common problem across all medical fields, doctors are more likely to miss some particular ailments than others. In addition, such a failure may have a seriously detrimental effect on the patient.

Some of the most common illnesses missed include:

  • Cancer
  • Strokes
  • Infections
  • Brain aneurysms
  • Heart disease or other heart conditions
  • Blood clotting, which may lead to pulmonary embolisms

These are severe conditions that will almost always worsen if left untreated. And most of these conditions are potentially fatal. Even a delay in treatment by a few weeks could lead to a permanent disability with most of these conditions; this is why it is so critical for a doctor to diagnose these ailments properly.

Medical Malpractice Representation in New York

If you have been harmed by a negligent physician, surgeon, or medical institution, do not hesitate. Remember, malpractice cases are rarely simple. They require carefully reviewing your medical records and other documents before filing a lawsuit. If you are a New York resident, the statute of limitations imposes a deadline to initiate a medical malpractice claim. This deadline is typically 30 months after the alleged malpractice occurred. But, even 30 months is not much time for investigating and building a successful medical malpractice case.

If you believe you or a family member has suffered due to medical malpractice in New York, contact our team at Silberstein, Awad, and Miklos today for a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our medical malpractice attorneys.