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Common diagnostic errors and medical malpractice

A serious medical condition can greatly affect your life. If you get a severe illness, disease or injury, it may lead to significant disability, loss of enjoyment of life or even death. A misdiagnosis could make the outcome even worse. Diagnostic errors can lead to delayed treatment, incorrect treatment or no treatment whatsoever. 

But what exactly counts as a diagnostic mistake? When does it constitute medical malpractice? Below is an overview of common diagnosis problems and what you can do about them.

Types of diagnosis mistakes

Here are several examples of errors medical professionals can make:

  • Delayed diagnosis: The physician makes the right diagnosis, but it is late and the condition may be far worse than if it were caught in a timely manner.
  • Wrong diagnosis: The physician makes a misdiagnosis, such as diagnosing a patient with cancer when there actually is no cancer present.
  • Missed diagnosis: The physician tells the patient he or she is fine when the patient actually has a disease or illness.

A doctor could also fail to recognize complications that could aggravate the condition, leading to a worse outcome. 

Proving medical malpractice

According to a Time Magazine article on misdiagnosis, not every diagnostic mistake leads to severe harm to the patient. Therefore, it is key to determine when a diagnosis mistake counts as medical malpractice. There are two main things that must be evident to warrant a medical malpractice claim:

  • Negligence: The doctor did not provide diagnosis and treatment in a competent and skillful manner.
  • Harm: This negligence caused injury to the patient in question.

In certain situations, one of these factors could be enough to bring a lawsuit against the doctor. However, most cases have both elements. 

One mistake by a doctor can lead to a completely different life for a patient. If you have more questions about misdiagnosis, you should talk to a lawyer.

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