Failure to Order Medical Tests and Misdiagnosis
When we visit a doctor with symptoms, we expect that he or she will run several tests to try and identify our condition. Healthcare professionals have specific procedures they follow to diagnose ailments, and ordering the appropriate medical tests is a key part of those processes. However, some medical providers may fail to order the right tests or to order any tests at all, misdiagnosing patients’ symptoms. A medical misdiagnosis can be very dangerous; without prompt treatment, a patient’s condition may worsen and lead to serious, potentially life-threatening complications.
What Are Diagnostic Tests?
Medical diagnostic tests are essential tools used to diagnose a wide range of conditions, including infections, chronic diseases, heart attacks, and other ailments. Some of the most common diagnostic tests include the following.
- Blood tests
- CT scans
- Urine tests
- Bone density study
The Dangers of Medical Test Errors
When a patient seeks medical attention, a doctor will typically ask about his or her symptoms and examine some parts of his or her body. Based on the doctor’s observations, he or she will order diagnostic tests to try and identify the correct condition. If a doctor fails to order the appropriate diagnostic test, he or she can cause severe harm to a patient.
For example, say that a 57-year-old patient visits a doctor with symptoms of a heart attack: chest pain, shortness of breath, and lightheadedness. An electrocardiogram would help the physician identify and correctly diagnose the heart attack, but the doctor fails to order one. Instead, the doctor diagnoses the patient with anxiety and prescribes medication.
The patient leaves the appointment believing she has anxiety and takes the medication. The patient does not realize she is experiencing a life-threatening condition, which becomes progressively worse. At home, she collapses and is rushed to the hospital. After receiving emergency treatment for the heart attack, the patient learns that she sustained permanent brain damage due to oxygen loss.
If the first doctor had assessed the patient’s symptoms correctly and ordered an electrocardiogram, she would have received treatment sooner than she did. The patient may have avoided the lasting effects of brain damage if the doctor had ordered the right tests or if she had visited a different physician. Another doctor would have likely been able to identify these common symptoms and would have ordered an electrocardiogram to rule out the possibility of the heart attack.
Filing a Medical Misdiagnosis Lawsuit
If you visited a doctor who failed to order medical tests and accurately diagnose your condition, you may qualify for a medical malpractice lawsuit. Medical malpractice claims provide injured patients with the opportunity to hold negligent healthcare providers accountable. If you experienced additional injury or worsening symptoms due to a medical misdiagnosis, you could recover compensation for losses like medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
In these situations, you need an attorney on your side. A Kansas City medical malpractice lawyer can help you evaluate your case, identify whether you qualify for a lawsuit, and craft a compelling case for your right to compensation. Contact an attorney as soon as possible following your misdiagnosis to discuss your next steps.