The failure to diagnose a potentially fatal disease can devastate a patient and his/her chance of recovery. Doctors have a duty to patients to correctly diagnose an ailment so that appropriate treatment can begin immediately. The diagnosis is most crucial, because without it the resulting treatment may prove useless or, worse, detrimental for the patient. It is also important to diagnose a disease as early as possible, as most diseases get worse the longer they remain untreated.
One of the most commonly misdiagnosed or undiagnosed diseases is cancer. Cancer occurs when cells become abnormal and continue to divide and form more cells without control. Some cancers give warning signs in the form of symptoms for patients and others do not. A biopsy is one of the only sure methods of finding out if cancer is present. Once cancer has been identified, it may be treated with surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy or biological therapy, but the diagnosis must be correct and early to give the patient a chance of recovery.
EARLY DETECTION FOR BETTER OUTCOME
In most circumstances, the sooner a disease is diagnosed, the higher the likelihood of successful treatment and a better outcome. For this reason, regular check-ups and communication between the doctor and patient are extremely important for early detection of illness. However, in some situations a patient has maintained check-ups and has communicated any problems or unexplained issues to the doctor, and the doctor still fails to quickly and effectively diagnose signs of certain disease. This inaction may warrant a medical malpractice case.
FAILURE TO DIAGNOSE OR MISDIAGNOSIS
There are many ways a doctor might fail his/her patient in diagnosis including attributing symptoms of one ailment to another disease or failing to test for a disease when obvious symptoms exist. When that behavior results in harm to a patient, it is classified as medical malpractice. Some examples of diagnostic mistakes that may qualify as medical malpractice include:
- Failing to order x-rays, CT scans or MRIs
- Failing to identify an obvious lump during a breast exam
- Misdiagnosing a tumor as benign
- Misreading a test
- Failing to order a biopsy or future tests
- Failing to observe obvious indicators of disease or disregarding the patients’ symptoms
- Other actions that should have been taken to make a correct diagnosis
It is important for patients who have been diagnosed with cancer to focus on their treatment and recovery. However, while they are undergoing treatments, which may take a significant amount of time, the applicable statute of limitations is likely already running, and timing can be critically important to your case. If you or a family member are the victim of a physician’s or other health care provider’s failure to diagnose, please Contact us today for a free, no obligation, confidential legal consultation.
Inland Empire & Southern California Malpractice Attorneys Located in Redlands, CA Serving clients in: San Bernardino County | Riverside County | Los Angeles County | Orange County | San Diego County
Raynes Erickson, Attorneys at Law focuses its practice on the legal representation of clients who are victims of medical malpractice, catastrophic injury, or wrongful death. Contact us today to learn more about your legal rights and how our litigation team can help you receive the compensation you deserve.