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Delayed Diagnosis: When Medical Malpractice Causes Permanent Damage

Millennial Magazine - medical malpractice

When you go to a doctor, you expect to come out of the hospital or clinic feeling better than you went in. However, that is not always the case, and you can find yourself as a victim of medical malpractice.

Medical malpractice is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Delayed diagnosis is an element of medical malpractice which involves the doctor failing to diagnose a disease correctly.

It can sometimes lead to severe permanent damage or even death. You do have options in such a case of delayed diagnosis caused permanent damage: 

Proving The Medical Malpractice

When a delayed diagnosis causes permanent damage to you or a loved one, the first thing you have to do is to prove the damage happened because of the delayed diagnosis. Though medical malpractice can be challenging to prove, it is possible.

You need to prove it because the law may not hold doctors liable for medical malpractice in all cases of delayed diagnosis. Therefore, you need to prove three things to prove medical malpractice: 

  • A doctor-patient relationship. 
  • The doctor’s negligence. 
  • Connect the doctor’s oversight to the patient’s damage or death. 

Proving The Doctor-Patient Relationship

The first step will be to prove a relationship between the doctor and the patient, which should be easy as long as medical documents are from treatment. Payment from the patient to the doctor should also suffice.

GPS data proving the patient visits the doctor on multiple accounts will help establish the relationship. For example, if the patient had breast cancer, there would be evidence of numerous visits.

Proving The Doctor’s Negligence

On the other hand, proving the doctor’s negligence will be more challenging. You will probably require the help of an attorney to establish a delayed cancer diagnosis. A delayed diagnosis is not apparent medical malpractice.

To prove that it is a medical malpractice case, you must prove that another doctor with the same qualifications and in the same field under the same conditions would have made an earlier diagnosis. 

A differential diagnosis involves doctors conducting a preliminary evaluation of a patient then listing possible diagnoses based on probability. The doctor will then test the strength of either diagnosis based on probability.

The doctor will rule out every diagnosis until only one remains. Therefore, you need to prove the doctor did not include the correct diagnosis on the diagnosis list, or they had it on the list but did thoroughly test the diagnosis’ viability. 

Diagnostic Test Errors 

A doctor could make a correct diagnosis, but the diagnosis may be from an inaccurate diagnostic test. That might be due to two reasons: the equipment was faulty, or someone made a mistake. 

In a case of medical malpractice caused by diagnostic errors, you still have to prove the delayed diagnosis was caused by the hospital or one of the staff. However, the doctor may not be liable for the malpractice. 

Proving The Malpractice Caused Harm

You must also prove that the delayed diagnosis caused permanent damage to the patient. You and your attorney must prove that the doctor would have prevented the damage with a correct diagnosis made in a timely fashion.

For example, if the patient has colorectal cancer, the delayed diagnosis should have caused cancer to grow to a point where even aggressive treatment methods. With cancer, a delay in treatment might cause cancer to reappear. 

If the doctor’s diagnosis led to treatment that the patient did not have, you could still sue for medical malpractice based on the harm caused by mental health disorders and the treatment the patient underwent. 

As you can see, there is much you need to do in a case of delayed diagnosis, even when it results in permanent damage. If you can prove the three things above, you should have a claim on your hands, and compensation will soon follow. Otherwise, talk to an attorney and consider the legal actions you have. 

What do you think?

Written by Brooke Nierling

Passionate blogger, travel enthusiast and Beagle lover looking to add a bit of beauty and kindness to our world.

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