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What is Failure to Diagnose?

Submitted by jrlaw on Nov 9th, 2010

Nearly half of the claims for medical malpractice filed every year involve a failure to diagnose a condition. For the casual observer, this may seem a bit unfair. After all, there are plenty of diseases and disorders that can easily be overlooked. The law accounts for this and there are certainly cases where even the best doctor in the world wouldn’t have seen the signs of a specific illness. However, when patients present with symptoms that should tip off any competent doctor to the fact that there’s a problem, suing is sometimes the best option.

A failure to diagnose a serious medical issue can have serious, even deadly, repercussions. Cancer that is missed may elevate in stages between visits and become a terminal disease. Diseases such as diabetes need to be addressed immediately after they’re discovered and, if they aren’t, the patient may suffer a lot more misery than they would if their condition was properly addressed. These cases oftentimes end up affecting the health of the patient involved, of course, and they sometimes also cause significant financial damages to the patient.

When a disease is allowed to go unchecked, the treatments needed to address it sometimes become much more expensive and painful. This is why failing to diagnose certain conditions is considered to be a type of medical negligence. When a doctor takes you on as a patient, they take on certain legal responsibilities to you. These responsibilities all involve providing you with care that is competent and up to the highest standards of professionalism. When doctors don’t live up to this and you suffer as a result of that negligence, it’s time to contact an attorney. Don’t ever let the fact that you’re dealing with a doctor or a hospital intimidate you out of doing so.

An attorney who is experienced with medical malpractice claims will know how to proceed. Some of them offer a free consultation, where you can determine if you have a lawsuit that’s worth pursuing or if a jury would be likely to find against you. Getting help with filing a lawsuit doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to come up with a lot of money to get started, either. In fact, some lawyers work on contingency, which allows you to go ahead with your case without having to pay upfront fees. This is the lowest-risk way to pursue your case.