Failure to Diagnose Cases

A vital aspect of a medical practitioner’s job is correctly diagnosing a patient. Correct diagnosis allows doctors to prescribe the proper treatment and address the patient’s condition properly. Consequently, when a physician fails to diagnose the patient ― for whatever reason ― patients are at risk for harm or even death. Not following acceptable medical standards can result in a failure to diagnose, in which case there may be grounds for medical malpractice. At Rich & Rich, P.C., our New York lawyers can help you determine whether substantial evidence of medical malpractice exists to pursue a lawsuit.

A large percentage of diagnosis failures are for cancer

A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine addressed 307 closed malpractice claims for alleged missed diagnosis or delayed diagnosis. Of the claims, 181 involved diagnostic errors that harmed patients and of these, 59 percent caused serious harm and 30 percent resulted in death. Also, 59 percent of the errors involved cancer. Of those claims, 24 percent were breast cancer and seven percent were colorectal cancer. The most common diagnostic errors were:

  • Failure to order a proper diagnostic test
  • Failure to create a proper follow-up plan
  • Failure to obtain an adequate medical history
  • Failure to perform an adequate physical examination
  • Incorrect interpretation of diagnostic tests

Underlying these failures were human errors, such as errors in judgment, vigilance, memory, knowledge of patient related factors and handoffs. The study concluded that harmful diagnostic errors resulted from factors involved with both individual and system breakdowns.

Early correct diagnosis

When doctors diagnose cancer early on, the patient has a much better prognosis for recovery. Delayed treatment or a lack of treatment puts the patient at risk for having the disease develop further. This is true with all types of cancer, including the following:

  • Breast cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Melanoma (skin cancer)

Other types of misdiagnosis

Heart attacks are other physical conditions often prone to misdiagnosis and more so in women than in men. Doctors often mistake a woman’s heart attack symptoms for indigestion or some type of gastro-intestinal problem. This error can result in extreme injury or death. In New York, you can file a complaint against doctor and also obtain a legal opinion about suing.

Find out whether the failure to diagnose occurred in your case

When you have good reason to believe that a missed diagnosis, failure to diagnose or wrong diagnosis resulted in severe injury, skilled lawyers can evaluate your situation and determine the prospects for pursuing a case. At Rich & Rich, our New York lawyers focus a substantial part of our practice on medical malpractice cases.

Don’t wait. Contact Rich & Rich, P.C. today

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