A failure to diagnose can have serious consequences for the victim. It can impact their health, security and, in some instances, a failure to diagnose can be fatal. For that reason, victims and their families should be familiar with what is considered a failure to diagnose and the medical malpractice legal resources available to them.
The impact of a failure to diagnose and protections for victims
The general rule is if a delayed diagnosis or failure to diagnose results in a worsened condition for the patient, they may have a claim for damages against the negligent medical care provider. The worsened condition is measured against the condition the patient would have expected to be in given a timely diagnosis. This blog previously diagnosed some of the ways that a differential diagnosis can go wrong if not properly made.
To determine if the medical care provider will be liable for the victim’s damages, the court will ask if a reasonably prudent doctor, under similar circumstances, would have made the same differential diagnosis. If the medical care provider failed to consider the victim’s true diagnosis, or order the appropriate tests, or properly read and interpret those tests, they may be liable to the victim for their damages.
A failure to diagnose, delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis can have devastating consequences for victims. It can lead to erroneous treatment, care or medications and can also result in the victim not receiving the medical care and treatment they badly need. Because of the importance of reliable and safe medical care, victims and their families should be aware of legal protections that help hold medical care providers accountable and may be able to help them with their damages.