A diagnosis mistake may complicate your medical condition and lead to irreparable harm. If such a mistake occurs due to a doctor's negligence, then you may have a legitimate medical malpractice claim. Here are three forms of diagnostic errors, and how they can harm you:
A missed diagnosis occurs when the doctor gives you a clean bill of health, only for you to find out later (after a diagnosis by another doctor) that you were sick at the time. This is dangerous because the period between the missed diagnosis and the correct diagnosis gives the disease a chance to spread. After all, most illnesses are best handled in their infancy.
A good example is dementia, which medical experts agree is best handled in its early stages. Early pharmacologic intervention slows down your decline of cognitive functions. Thus, you may have a medical malpractice case if your doctor declares you free of dementia despite having the disease, and you lose the opportunity for treatment.
In this instance, the doctor diagnoses your medical condition correctly, but he or she does this after a lengthy delay that causes you harm. It may be that the doctor just treats the symptoms of the disease while it festers below the surface. Consider an example in which you are sick with cancer, but your doctor fails to diagnose you with the disease for several months. Since cancer is one of the diseases that require early intervention, it may be too late to manage it by the time your doctor realizes (moths later) you have been suffering from the disease.
Failure to Diagnose a Related Disease
Failure to diagnose a related disease is also another diagnostic error. It occurs if you have two or more related diseases, but the doctor only diagnoses one of them. The obvious danger is that the undiagnosed disease may progress and harm you even if you treat the undiagnosed one. A not-so-obvious danger is that complications of the undiagnosed disease may complicate the treatment of the diagnosed disease, and this harms you.
Consider an example in which you have a heart attack and chest pains caused by another health condition, such as pneumonia. If the doctor diagnoses pneumonia but fails to diagnose the heart attack, then you may suffer from heart attack complications, such as heart failure (a condition in which your heart muscles are too weak to pump adequate blood).
Just like other forms of medical malpractices, diagnostic errors are complex and often require the input of medical experts. If your doctor made a mistake when diagnosing your medical condition, consult a medical malpractice law firm to help you on the way forward.
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