Incorrect Diagnosis – Boca Raton Medical Malpractice Attorney
Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach Offices serving all of Florida
Medicine is not an exact science – it can also be an art. Diagnostics require a physician to draw on their education and experience, use medical tests, and reach a conclusion. As long as they do so properly, they should be able to accurately diagnose a patient.
There are a large number of medical malpractice cases that come from misdiagnosis or incorrect diagnosis on behalf of the physician. When a physician diagnosis incorrectly, delays treatment or does not give the patient adequate treatment, a patient could suffer from a worse condition – or worse, die because of the incorrect diagnosis. A mistake in diagnostics is not necessarily an automatic medical malpractice case; instead, there must be several criterion met for a case to be eligible.
Proving Malpractice from Incorrect Diagnosis
Florida laws do not automatically hold a doctor legally responsible for inaccurate diagnosis; instead, patients or their surviving family members must prove three things to qualify for a medical malpractice case. These three things include:
- Proving there was a doctor-patient relationship.
- Proving the doctor was negligent in their diagnostic procedure – meaning they didn’t use reasonable skill when handing out a diagnosis.
- Proving that the doctor’s negligence was what led to the patient’s injury or death.
Was the Doctor Negligent in Their Misdiagnosis?
Misdiagnosis is not medical malpractice on its own. Even skillful, competent physicians can make diagnostic errors while using a reasonable level of care. To prove it was actual malpractice, you must first prove the doctor acted incompetently, which led to the misdiagnosis. This involves a professional evaluation of what the doctor did and didn’t do, and determine if he or she failed to diagnose properly. This requires other physicians reviewing the doctor’s notes to see if they would have used different methods to verify their diagnosis.
Doctors will test the strength of that physician’s diagnosis process, such as:
- Evaluating the tests that were ordered – and any necessary tests that they should have ordered, but didn’t.
- Reviewing medical history and patient symptoms to see if they fit the diagnosis given.
- Ordering additional tests to see the accuracy of those tests.
- Seeing if all other possible diagnosis were already ruled out by the physician.
To prove that there was malpractice, even after the above has been assessed, attorneys must prove one of two things for a valid claim:
- The doctor didn’t include a correct diagnosis in the differential diagnosis list and a reasonable doctor would have.
- The doctor included that diagnosis in his or her list, but failed to use the appropriate tests to rule it out.
Errors and Testing
Doctors may fail to diagnose properly because they relied on a test that offered inaccurate results. This can happen for a variety of reasons – and may mean holding the company responsible for the testing (instead of the physician) responsible for the medical misdiagnosis. Errors can include:
- Diagnostic equipment malfunction
- Human error – such as sample swaps or contamination at the lab
Determining the Harm of the Incorrect Diagnosis
Most importantly, you need an attorney to prove that the inaccurate diagnosis actually caused harm. If an incorrect diagnosis did not actually harm the patient,and they were not worse off after the real diagnosis was uncovered, then there may be no medical malpractice case.
For example, a patient was diagnosed with another disease, but it turns out the patient really had cancer. Because it was not found for a few months later and treatment was delayed, the cancer continued to spread. This is a medical malpractice-worthy misdiagnosis.
Additionally, if the physician diagnosed a patient with the wrong disease and that treatment for the wrong disease harms the patient, then they may have a case for medical malpractice as well.
Incorrect Diagnosis Claims are Complex
Proving a physician was negligent when making an inaccurate diagnosis is not easy. It requires access to medical professionals who can help assess the medical records and the doctor’s procedures to see if they truly acted negligently.
Contact Medical Malpractice Attorneys at Leifer Law Firm for Assistance Today
We feel doctors have a duty to protect their patients and doctors who act incompetently should be held accountable for their actions.
If you think you are the victim of medical malpractice, you have limited time to file your claim. Contact the Boca Raton medical malpractice attorneys at Leifer Law Firm today for a free consultation. We can assess your incorrect diagnosis case and let you know right away if you have a valid medical malpractice claim.Call us now to schedule your consultation and let our attorneys vigorously defend your right to the compensation you deserve.