When you visit your doctor to obtain a diagnosis for your illness, you trust that your physician will take the time to properly evaluate your symptoms to determine your medical condition. Sometimes a doctor does not provide the standard of care expected within his or her medical field, which can lead to a misdiagnosis. Failure to diagnose a serious illness, such as diabetes, cancer or stroke, can result in complications, even death.
A doctor is supposed to follow a certain process in identifying a medical condition or disease by reviewing the patient’s symptoms, which is known as diagnosis. Physicians are able to come up with a diagnosis based on signs, symptoms and test results, including those from x-rays, MRI scans, blood work and so on. They will review the patient’s medical history and will look for signs of disease. A doctor will initially make a hypothesis of likely medical conditions and will often order further testing to confirm his or her assumption.
Misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose are both considered medical errors. It has been estimated that medical errors cause 44,000 to 98,000 unnecessary deaths and 1,000,000 excess injuries each year in the United States. Physicians make medical errors for a variety of reasons, including sleep deprivation. In one study, researchers discovered that medical interns who were awake for more than 24 hours doubled or tripled the number of preventable medical errors, including errors that led to injury or death.
A misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose case falls under a legal category, known as medical malpractice. According to Wikipedia.com, medical malpractice can be defined as “professional negligence by act or omission by a health care provider in which care provided deviates from accepted standards of practice in the medical community and causes injury or death to the patient.” A Kentucky malpractice lawsuit can result in a substantial settlement for the injured patient.
If you have a condition that was misdiagnosed or if a doctor failed to diagnose cancer or another illness, contact a Louisville medical malpractice lawyer at Gray and White Law at 1-502-210-8942 or 1-888-450-4456 for legal advice.