When you visit your doctor because of some unusual symptoms that are bothering you, you expect the doctor to listened carefully to everything you’ve said, order the correct tests or scans, and refer you to an appropriate specialist when necessary. If your doctor tells you you’re fine, you should feel secure and confident that all is well and your body is functioning properly. You trust the doctor to be familiar with your symptoms and consider all diagnoses that might be consistent with them and to take the next steps to confirm or rule out each possibility, until the correct diagnosis is reached.
This is a reasonable expectation, but one that is not always met. If a doctor downplays your complaints, attributes them to something insignificant, or appears to be distracted and not listening to what you’re describing, he or she may either fail to diagnose an illness and or diagnose incorrectly. In either case— whether the doctor misdiagnoses the condition as something else or fails to make a diagnosis at all—if your condition becomes worse and progresses to a stage where it is harder to treat and your health is seriously or irreparably damaged, you could have a claim for medical malpractice.
These are a few of the common diagnostic errors that we see:
- Heart attack diagnosed instead as indigestion, anxiety, gallstones, or muscle strain
- Appendicitis diagnosed as gastroenteritis
- Stroke diagnosed as vertigo
- Pulmonary embolism diagnosed as heart attack or high blood pressure
- Bacterial meningitis diagnosed as migraine, tension headache, neck muscle strain, or flu
- Ovarian cancer diagnosed as endometriosis
- Colon cancer diagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome
Misdiagnosis cases are difficult to prove. The fact that the doctor made a diagnostic error does not automatically mean there has been malpractice. These cases require an experienced medical malpractice attorney. In the Bay Area, you’ll find the experience and skill you need when you consult the attorneys at Abronson Law Offices
At the Abronson Law Offices, our attorneys have a thorough understanding of the elements needed to make a case. Here’s what we’ll need to prove:
- First, the standard of care that would be expected of any competent physician practicing the same area of medicine
- Second, that the doctor failed to deliver that standard of care by not doing everything a reasonably competent physician knows to do, by virtual of medical training and experience, to diagnose the problem correctly and in a timely manner
- Third, that because of that failure breach, your health deteriorated significantly and you suffered damages
- Fourth, that the doctor’s failure to diagnose correctly was the actual cause of the harm to your health, and that the harm was not inevitable regardless of when the illness was diagnosed.
All elements must be present. If the doctor did everything that should have been done and still was unable to make a timely diagnosis, you will not have a case. If the doctor failed to do something that should have been done, but no harm resulted, you will not have a case. If you neglected to mention certain symptoms and the doctor missed a diagnosis, you will probably not have a case.
If you or someone in your family became seriously ill or died because of a doctor’s failing to diagnose your condition, call Abronson Law Offices to find out if you have a case.
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