Failure to Diagnose
As medical malpractice attorneys in Miami, the Hannon Legal Group has represented individuals whose lives have been affected due to the negligence of a medical provider. When medical malpractice occurs because a physician or surgeon fails to diagnose the medical problem, or because of an unnecessary and avoidable delay in offering the correct diagnosis, it is one of the most frustrating kinds of malpractice we see in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties. Yet, it is also avoidable.How Often Does A Delay In Diagnosis Lead to Medical Malpractice?
So, how often can medical malpractice be attributed to a failure to diagnose or a delay in diagnosis? According to a lengthy report by the Institute of Medicine discovered by Hannon Legal Group, most Americans will be given an incorrect diagnosis at some point in their lives, possibly more than once. The Washington Post covered this report extensively and noted that each year, misdiagnoses affect 12 million American adults. While specific statistics were not available for Florida medical malpractice cases, it is reasonable to estimate one in twenty persons seeking outpatient treatment will be affected.Common Kinds of Malpractice Stemming From a Failure to Diagnose or a Delay in Diagnosis
There are as many potential kinds of diagnosis failures as there are medical conditions. But some physician mistakes hold greater potential for devastating medical outcomes. For example:
- A delay in diagnosing or a failure to diagnose a heart attack or angina;
- A delay in diagnosing or a failure to diagnose appendicitis;
- A delay in diagnosing or a failure to diagnose lung cancer;
- A delay in diagnosing or a failure to diagnose colorectal cancer;
- A delay in diagnosing or a failure to diagnose breast cancer.
While these examples appear self evident, a medical professional’s failure to diagnose may take other forms. For example, the following situations also constitute a failure or delay in diagnosis:
- Emergency room diagnosis failures, where the attending physician fails to admit a patient for emergency treatment or fails to order the appropriate diagnostic tests, like CAT scans or X-rays.
- When complications are known to occur or likely to occur—such as the possibility of bowel perforation after an invasive procedure in the abdominal area—doctors may fail to consider and diagnose them
- When a patient or family member complains or voices a concern and the physician fails to take that into consideration in his or her diagnosis.
- When the diagnosis assumes the least serious possibility rather than the most serious possible diagnosis, as when a patient is suffering from a heart attack yet the physician declares it to be nothing more than indigestion.
- When complications arise during birth and the doctor or other members of the delivery team fail to realize what’s happening and responding in an appropriate manner.
Any one of the above described situations constitutes a possible case of medical malpractice due to failure to diagnose according to Florida law.How Does Medical Malpractice Occur From A Failure Or Delay In Diagnosis?
Five percent of persons seeking outpatient treatment may receive a diagnosis that is incorrect or that should have come sooner. Why is this happening? The most common reasons the medical professionals wait too late to diagnosis a condition, misdiagnose, or fail to diagnose at all are:
- An insufficient physical exam
- A lack of regular screenings initiated by the physician
- A failure to recognize the signs of a medical condition or a potential medical problem
- Not listening to or heeding the complaints of the patient
- A failure to order the appropriate diagnostic tests
- A misinterpretation of the results once the appropriate tests have been completed
- Diagnosing a tumor as benign when in fact it is cancerous
- Providing inadequate follow-up care
- Delaying a referral to specialists who might be able to diagnose a condition that the primary care provider was unable to recognize
Whether from pride, laziness, oversight, or a lack of diligence, no one deserves to face the consequences that may arise as the result of a diagnosis failure.The Impact Of A Failure to Diagnose In South Florida And Beyond
What can happen when a healthcare provider fails to correctly diagnose your condition? Consider these examples, highlighted by a CNN report on the problem of diagnostic error in the United States.
One woman in her early 50s asked her physician for a referral to a cardiologist for a stress test. Why? Heart disease ran in her family and she was concerned. The test was never ordered. Three months later, she was dead. The cause was coronary artery disease.
In another case, a young woman sought care from a doctor who assumed she was having an asthma attack. In reality, there was a blood clot in her lungs. The woman died.
At an urgent care clinic, one provider did not read the X-ray carefully and as a result, a man in his mid-fifties died of pneumonia.
For a team of doctors at a trauma center, the decision was made not to perform a CT scan on stabbing victim, so they missed the knife wound that actually penetrated the 21-year-old’s brain.
And when a newborn baby appeared yellow, the doctors in charge of treating him failed to test for the chemical causing the discoloration. As a result, the child suffered brain damage—a complete preventable outcome.
While not every case of failure to diagnose medical malpractice we see here in Florida has such devastating results, even a degree of pain, suffering, and trauma is unacceptable.What Can You Do If A Florida Physician Has Failed To Diagnose Your Condition?
Many times, the physicians will eventually get the diagnosis right. But by then, the damage may already have been done. In some cases, however, the result is the tragic loss of life and the actual cause of death—the condition that was diagnosable and treatable—only becomes known too late.
That’s why it is important to hold negligent physicians accountable for their actions. If you believe you have been wronged by a doctor who misdiagnosed you or a loved one and as a result of that diagnosis, you experienced pain, suffering, or loss, enlist the professional help of an advocate who is experienced at fighting for the rights of individuals such as yourself. Hannon Legal Group has the expertise to take on your case and pursue compensation on your behalf. As experienced medical malpractice attorneys, we will aggressively pursue vindication and compensation.Turn to Hannon Legal Group When You Have Been Victimized by Failure to Diagnose
The Miami medical malpractice lawyers at Hannon Legal Group understand what it takes to demonstrate that your physician’s substandard care led to your injuries. We know medical professionals here in Miami and all across the state of Florida who can serve as credible witnesses, testifying to the any particular evidence that mistakes happened in your treatment. We will listen to you and walk beside you on your journey to seek justice. Call (305) 358-3109 or email us today.