If a doctor does not take the right steps to diagnose a patient’s medical issue, that failure is considered malpractice. To sue a doctor for failing to diagnose, the patient must prove that the physician was negligent and caused them harm. To meet that standard, the following elements are required:
- Proof that the doctor’s failure to diagnose directly caused harm.
- Proof that the doctor was negligent. Negligence occurs if the doctor forgets to send blood to a lab, fails to ask the right questions, or acts in a way that a doctor with comparable experience would not. To prove negligence, patients must show that a reasonable physician would have diagnosed the problem correctly.
Difficulties in Proving Failure to Diagnose
Proving a physician negligently failed to diagnose a condition can be difficult because:
- A problem a patient sought treatment for would likely cause harm even if correctly diagnosed. If the harm suffered would have occurred anyway, a patient cannot claim that the doctor’s negligence caused harm.
- Patients often see the wrong specialist. Similar symptoms can come from more than one part of the body, making it very difficult to diagnose an illness. For instance, a GI doctor cannot be reasonably expected to treat dermatological illnesses.
- Patients often mislead their physicians, which can keep them from properly diagnosing the condition. For instance if a patient smokes but tells their doctor otherwise, and the physician fails to diagnose them with emphysema, the patient cannot later claim that the physician was negligent.
- The doctor’s mistake was within the realm of reasonability, which precludes negligence and/or malpractice. If a doctor fails to diagnose, they may believe that a patient has another condition and treat them accordingly. If an issue is difficult to pinpoint or it is very rare, a correct diagnosis may be almost impossible.
Hiring Siler and Ingber for a Failure to Diagnose Malpractice Case
It is very difficult to prove that a doctor acted negligently when they failed to diagnose a condition. A Medical Malpractice Attorney in Long Island NY can help you gather the documentation you need to prove your case, and they can help you navigate the court system for the best possible outcome.