A Medical Professional’s Failure to Treat Could Mean Medical Malpractice
Even with all the medical training and education doctors go through in order to be able to treat patients, and with all the advanced medical technology available, it’s still very common for doctors to have a difficult time properly diagnosing their patients. Sometimes, they might not recognize a patient’s symptoms, underestimate the severity of their symptoms, or fail to order tests that would help them reach a correct diagnosis. But just because it isn’t always easy for doctors to diagnose their patients, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s acceptable for them to make mistakes or be negligent in treating their patients.
The longer it takes for a doctor to reach a correct diagnosis, the more likely it becomes that a patient’s condition will worsen and become more difficult to treat. A delayed diagnosis might not always result in serious harm to patients, but when certain conditions are involved, the results can be life altering.
Cancer, for example, is often involved in cases of missed or delayed diagnosis. If a doctor fails to diagnose a patient with cancer while it’s still in the early stages, the cancer has time to grow and go from being something that would have been relatively easy to treat to being something that requires more aggressive treatments like chemotherapy. Heart attacks are another condition that is commonly misdiagnosed. When someone goes into emergency rooms with symptoms of a heart attack, they may be misdiagnosed with something less severe like heartburn or an anxiety attack.
If you think you’ve been the victim of a missed or delayed diagnosis, it’s important to understand that certain requirements need to be met for it to be considered medical malpractice. First and foremost, a doctor-patient relationship needs to have existed. Secondly, the doctor’s failure to diagnose needs to have caused actual harm to the patient. This can include things like a condition becoming worse over time, a patient experiencing prolonged pain, or treatment becoming less effective because of the delay.
Lastly, the doctor’s actions leading to the missed/delayed diagnosis need to be considered negligent. In medical malpractice cases, there is a concept known as the “standard of care,” which means that another doctor with comparable education and experience working under the same circumstances reasonably would have acted in the same way or reached the same conclusion. For example, if a doctor neglects to order a lab test that would have helped them reach a correct diagnosis, and that fails to meet the standard of care, it could be considered medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice can have a profound impact on your life, but getting compensation for your damages isn’t easy. The laws surrounding medical malpractice are very complex and it’s very important to have a lawyer on your side who can help you through the process. At The Law Offices of Goodwin & Scieszka, you can get help from a medical malpractice lawyer who is experienced in handling Michigan malpractice cases. Contact us today for help with your case.