When is a doctor's delayed diagnosis considered negligent?

Every day across the United States, a number of patients will be diagnosed as having a certain medical condition, when in reality, they're suffering from a different, more serious illness. It's because of their improper diagnosis that the wrong medication may be prescribed or treatment option offered, resulting in a rapid decline in the patient's health or even their death.

When it comes to the way doctors diagnose a condition, they're taught to do so by listing potential concerns from most probable to less likely ones. This process is known as differential diagnosis.

In cases in which a diagnosis goes either unmade or is incorrectly made, each instance is evaluated based on a comparative standard. This means that the actions they took will be compared with that which a similarly trained physician would have, under like circumstances, taken. If that physician would have been able to diagnose the patient's condition, then it's likely that the doctor that didn't will be accused of negligence.

In cases of negligence such as this, doctors are often sued as part of a medical malpractice lawsuit.

A doctor may also be sued with malpractice even if he or she adequately diagnosed a condition, yet failed to suggest a certain course of treatment or advise a patient of his or her different options to combat it. One reason lawsuits are filed in cases like this is because a doctor simply writes off the symptoms a patient describes as minor when they're far worse.

In other instances, a patient given the wrong diagnosis for his or her condition is likely to receive the wrong treatment. If this occurs, then the patient may suffer related, unintended ill effects from being prescribed the wrong medication or having the wrong procedure performed on him or her.

If you're concerned that your doctor's late diagnosis of your condition was detrimental to your health, then a Tucson attorney can provide guidance in your legal matter.

Source: FindLaw, "Failed/erroneous diagnosis and treatment," accessed Jan. 05, 2018

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