My Doctor Failed to Diagnose a Medical Problem: Can I File a Lawsuit?
Patients expect to receive a reasonable standard of care when seeking medical attention but sometimes doctors are negligent and fail to diagnose or treat medical conditions. Failure to diagnose a medical condition can cause serious consequences including delayed treatment, permanent injury, or even death.
When a doctor fails to diagnose a condition, valuable time may be lost and symptoms may worsen, sometimes causing irreparable harm to the patient. If your doctor failed to diagnose a medical problem, can you file a lawsuit? The Salt Lake City, Utah-based attorneys of Younker Hyde Macfarlane, PLLC, can answer this question for you during a personal consultation. In the meantime, let’s take a closer look at when it may be possible to file a lawsuit for failure to diagnose a medical condition.
What Is Failure to Diagnose?
Failure to diagnose is a type of medical malpractice claim in which a doctor failed to diagnose a condition or disease that a competent doctor would have detected, resulting in injury to the patient.
Failure to diagnose is different than a missed diagnosis. With a failure to diagnose, no disease, illness, or other medical condition is detected and no treatment is provided. A misdiagnosis means a condition was diagnosed but incorrectly, subsequently resulting in treatment the patient didn’t need.
Some ways failure to diagnose can occur include:
- The doctor gives the patient a clean bill of health, makes no diagnosis, and therefore provides no treatment.
- The doctor correctly diagnoses one condition but misses another condition that is also occurring in the patient.
Filing a Lawsuit for Failure to Diagnose
Patients who have suffered injury as the result of a doctor’s failure to diagnose a medical condition may seek compensation for damages through a medical malpractice lawsuit. In order to file a lawsuit for a failure to diagnose, a patient must be able to show that:
- There was a doctor-patient relationship: A doctor-patient relationship can often be proven through medical records showing when the doctor provided care.
- The doctor was negligent: A doctor may be considered negligent when they fail to provide the same standard of care as another doctor of the same specialty would under similar circumstances. Evidence may include a failure to order tests or a failure to recognize the correct diagnosis.
- The negligence caused injury: In addition to proving a doctor acted negligently, it must also be shown that the negligence caused injury to the patient. For a failed diagnosis claim, this could be worsening symptoms or the progression of an illness or disease to a point where it will likely lead to death.
Types of Damages for Failure to Diagnose
Through a medical malpractice lawsuit, patients who have been injured by a doctor’s failure to diagnose a medical condition may recover such damages as:
- Lost earnings
- Medical expenses
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
Contact Younker Hyde Macfarlane
If you have suffered injury due to a doctor’s failure to diagnose a medical condition, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your damages. To discuss your legal options, schedule a consultation with the Salt Lake City, Utah-area medical malpractice attorneys of Younker Hyde Macfarlane.