Misdiagnosis versus Failure to Diagnose

While you might not think it makes much difference whether your doctor misdiagnoses you or fails to diagnose you, there is a distinction in law. Speak to your attorney if you are in a situation like this.

We all look up to doctors and other medical professionals because by virtue of their training, they have the skills and ability to make us feel better – to fix what is wrong. Most doctors, etc., take this responsibility very seriously and follow the “Do no harm,” oath of their profession. However, negligence does stalk the halls of many medical facilities, including physician’s offices, and the act of acting in error or failing to act, becomes a very serious matter.

In medical malpractice law there are two common oversights we see on a regular basis – the misdiagnosis of a medical condition or the failure to diagnose a certain medical problem. It’s a startling fact that roughly 40% of med mal lawsuits in the U.S. are the result of a doctor failing to diagnose someone promptly.

Let’s take a quick look at misdiagnosis. This is when a patient is told they have something that they really “don’t” have. Needless to say, subsequent treatment may cause any number of complications. The major point here is that the “real” condition is going undiagnosed and untreated. In reality, the patient then has two problems – the misdiagnosis of the real condition and the failure to diagnose the real condition.

If a particular illness is time sensitive, such as a viral heart infection or cancer, it is crucial that the proper treatment be started post haste. Not diagnosing the real condition results in leaving it untreated for far too long, causing the patient serious problems. Treatment given for the wrong thing may exacerbate the problem and/or cause another problem entirely, prescriptions given in error compound the original diagnostic error(s).

On the other end of the continuum, we see cases where doctors totally missed the boat in figuring out what is wrong with a patient, or managed to get it right too late. Again, with some diseases, time is of the essence and if treatment is delayed or not commenced, the consequences could be deadly. The sad thing is that in these cases, what was once possibly treatable then becomes untreatable if left too long.

If you’re faced with a suspected failure to diagnose or a misdiagnosis, contact a highly skilled med mal attorney and discuss your legal rights and options.

Christopher Mellino is a Cleveland Malpractice Lawyer specializing in Cleveland Medical Malpractice cases in Ohio. To learn more about Cleveland medical malpractice, Cleveland malpractice lawyer, Cleveland medical malpractice, Cleveland medical malpractice lawyer, visit Christophermellino.com.