What to Do When a Delayed Diagnosis Causes Irreversible Harm
Posted in Medical Malpractice on November 30, 2021
When we visit a doctor while experiencing a medical problem, we expect him or her to assess the condition, provide a correct diagnosis, and begin treatment. However, not all doctors uphold this duty. Negligent physicians can delay diagnosing a patient, leading to worsening ailments, additional physical injuries, and irreversible harm.
If your doctor delayed your diagnosis and you suffered an injury as a result, you may be eligible for financial compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit. To build a strong claim against the at-fault physician, it is important to understand what a delayed diagnosis is and what you will need to prove to craft a successful claim.
Medical Malpractice and Delayed Diagnosis
All medical professionals, including physicians, surgeons, and nurses, must uphold a certain standard of care while treating patients. If a healthcare provider’s actions deviate from what another reasonable and similarly trained professional would have done under the same circumstances, he or she breaches the standard of care.
When a healthcare provider breaches the industry standard of care and harms a patient, he or she commits an act of medical malpractice. A delayed diagnosis can rise to the level of medical malpractice if the doctor’s actions are responsible for the delay.
A delayed diagnosis occurs when a physician fails to diagnose a patient’s condition or ailment within a reasonable amount of time. As a result, the patient’s condition worsens, and he or she suffers from harm.
Examples of delayed diagnosis include the following.
- The doctor lost a patient’s test results.
- The patient reported certain symptoms to the doctor, but the doctor ignored and dismissed them.
- The patient clearly requires a specialist to diagnose his or her condition, and the doctor fails to refer the patient.
- The doctor notices something unusual or wrong about a patient but fails to order further tests or follow up.
The Long-Term Implications of a Delayed Diagnosis
If you experience a delayed diagnosis, you can sustain severe injuries and potentially lifelong impairments. For example, if you visit a doctor with common symptoms of cancer and the doctor loses your test results, your condition can worsen as you wait for the doctor to contact you. You can then reach a more advanced stage of cancer and require more intensive medical treatment than you would before.
A delayed diagnosis can result in higher medical expenses, greater levels of pain and suffering, lengthier recovery times, and other serious damages. In these situations, you can recover compensation for these losses by filing a lawsuit against the physician responsible for the delay.
Steps to Take After a Delayed Diagnosis
After you experience a delayed diagnosis, it is important to gather evidence, receive medical treatment, and seek the help you need to file your claim. As soon as you realize that your diagnosis was delayed, find another medical provider who can treat your condition and save all of your medical records.
Once you gather all of the evidence related to your condition and the delayed diagnosis, contact a Kansas City medical malpractice lawyer. An attorney can guide you through the litigation process and represent you in trial and negotiations against the at-fault physician. Hiring a lawyer will also provide you with the resources and skills you need to navigate your claim, such as expert medical professionals who can testify on your behalf.
As soon as possible following the delayed diagnosis, contact a medical malpractice attorney to discuss your next steps.