The failure to diagnose or the misdiagnosis of a medical condition generally doesn’t lead to a patient pursuing legal action with a Long Island medical malpractice law firm. But when it results in an unwarranted disease or progresses to a point where treatment doesn’t help, you may have a case of medical malpractice.
If this is the case, your next step should be to seek legal counsel from a Long Island medical malpractice law firm. An attorney will review the details of your circumstances carefully to determine if you have the right to seek compensation through a lawsuit.
Consequences of a Failure to Diagnose or Misdiagnosis
Time can play a critical role in the diagnosis and treatment of certain medical conditions. For instance, a tumor may be treatable, but if not immediately diagnosed, the cancer could spread to other areas, making it more difficult to treat.
When caught early, a patient could go on to live a normal, healthy life. But when a doctor is negligent in his or her failure to diagnose the condition, it could turn life-threatening or lead to unwarranted disease.
Another consequence of not properly diagnosing a medical condition is that the wrong treatment could be given, which could be detrimental to a patient in a couple of ways.
First, the true medical condition isn’t being treated. This could result in a preventable progression of the disease. Second, some treatment may be costly and invasive and could lead to other complications.
Types of Conditions That Can Progress When Not Diagnosed
Some diseases or conditions may not be diagnosed or may be misdiagnosed because their signs and symptoms are similar to other medical conditions.
The failure to diagnose, and thus treat, heart disease may lead to serious consequences such as cardiac arrest. Both men and women can experience chest pains leading up to or immediately at the point of having a heart attack. However, other symptoms may indicate a heart attack. These may include shortness of breath, fatigue, or even pain in the jaw, shoulder or neck area.
Failing to diagnose chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) properly could result in a quicker progression. This disease has symptoms that develop over time. Signs such as cough, chest pain and shortness of breath may be similar to symptoms of other conditions, and in some cases, may lead to a misdiagnosis.
There are many other types of conditions that can lead to an unwarranted disease or progression if not properly diagnosed.
Proving Medical Malpractice Stemming from a Failure to Diagnose
In order to be successful in this type of case, you will need to prove that the doctor was negligent. A doctor must have deviated from the accepted standard of care if negligence is to be proven. If the doctor followed the standard expected of other reasonable physicians, yet the misdiagnosis still occurred, the physician may not be considered negligent.
Failing to run standard diagnostic tests or failure to recognize obvious symptoms could be examples of negligence. Or it could be that the test results indicated the diagnosis, but the physician misread them.
Negligence comes in many forms. Establishing it can be a challenge. Your Long Island medical malpractice law firm may hire medical experts to testify in the case if your lawyer determines that you have a valid case of malpractice. The medical expert can evaluate the circumstances and help establish that the medical professional acted negligently.
Seeking Help from a Long Island Medical Malpractice Law Firm
These types of medical malpractice may cause various damages — from increased medical bills to lost wages. Patients also may suffer non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering in some cases. Contact an attorney at Gacovino, Lake & Associates if you believe the progression of your disease was caused by a failure to diagnose.