Kent Failure-to-Diagnose Attorney
Helping You Hold Negligent Medical Professionals Accountable
Medical malpractice does not always take the form of wrongful action. In fact, negligent inaction serves as the basis for most medical malpractice claims. Among the most common of these are claims involving failure to diagnose.
When doctors, nurses, and other medical practitioners fail to quickly and correctly diagnose an illness, injury, or condition, patients suffer. Without a proper diagnosis, you cannot receive proper treatment. This can lead to additional complications and injuries and, in severe cases, death.
Proving that a medical professional was negligent in failing to diagnose your condition is difficult, however. It’s not enough to simply show that you didn’t receive the right diagnosis the first time you visited your doctor/the hospital; instead, you must show that the medical practitioners involved failed to meet the standard of care.
Failure to Diagnose Aneurysms
An aneurysm is a swelling or ballooning of a vessel that can occur if the blood vessel is damaged or weakened. As blood pressure increases or time passes, the blood vessel can balloon outwards at the damaged or weakened spot. If pressure continues, the blood vessel can rupture, which can result in hemorrhaging (bleeding). If the hemorrhage is severe, stroke or death may result.
An aneurysm can occur suddenly, or it can evolve over time. An aneurysm can occur without any warning and can cause long-lasting physical problems. Doctors should be able to accurately diagnose the signs and symptoms of an aneurysm even though they share many of the same symptoms of other conditions. Too often, patients being treated for hypertension or high blood pressure have an aneurysm.
In cases involving failure to diagnose an aneurysm, it’s important to understand the symptoms that the patient was having at the time the patient saw the doctor or healthcare provider. To understand these symptoms, we need to review the medical charts of the patient, as well as understand what conversations, examinations, and testing transpired.
Once this information is known, it’s then possible to assess whether the proper treatment was rendered, or whether the doctor or healthcare provider was negligent in failing to diagnose a developing aneurysm. To makes this assessment, we typically hire physicians or medical experts to review the symptoms that were presented and to review the actions taken by the doctor or healthcare provider to determine whether these actions were appropriate given the circumstances.
In order to prove medical malpractice, it must be shown that the doctor or healthcare provider failed to comply with or meet the standard of care that a competent doctor or healthcare professional would have provided under the same circumstances, and that such failure caused harm.
Failure to Diagnose Cancer
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cancer remains the second leading cause of death in the United States, with estimated deaths of more than 567,000 annually. The US National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results estimates that nearly 12 million people in the United States are living with some type of cancer at any time.
While cancer treatment is improving every year, it nonetheless remains a deadly disease. In virtually every case, the earlier a cancer is diagnosed, the better the prognosis and long-term survival. Conversely, the longer cancer is left undiagnosed, the higher the chance cancer will spread and ultimately prove fatal.
When a doctor does not properly diagnose cancer during an initial examination, it’s important to find out why. Did the doctor fail to recognize the symptoms? Did the doctor fail to properly examine the patient based upon the symptoms that the patient was experiencing? Should further testing have been ordered? Should a biopsy have been taken?
When a patient experiences symptoms consistent with cancer, it’s critical that the physician or healthcare provider take all medically reasonable steps to determine whether cancer is present, even if there are other possible explanations. Failure to do so may constitute medical malpractice.
Failure to Diagnose Cardiac Abnormalities
Cardiac disease is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. The term “cardiac disease” encompasses more than heart attack and includes congenital heart disease, arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, and more. In fact, a study approved by the Institutional Review Board for Human Subject Research at the University of Michigan indicates that a significant proportion of medical ICU patients with critical medical illnesses have underlying cardiac abnormalities.
Too often, hospitals and physicians fail to perform procedures that can detect underlying heart abnormalities. If you or a loved one failed to receive a proper, timely diagnosis of cardiac abnormalities, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim.
Failure to Diagnose Heart Attack
Heart attacks and heart disease are frighteningly commonplace in the U.S. In fact, someone suffers a heart attack every 20 seconds, and a fatal heart attack occurs every minute. Today, almost 14 million Americans have a history of heart attack or angina (chest pain that occurs when the heart muscle fails to get the blood it needs to function properly).
While the signs and symptoms leading up to a heart attack can be similar to other medical problems, doctors and healthcare providers should first check to determine if a heart attack is occurring. When doctors and other medical personnel fail to properly diagnose and treat a heart attack, the result can be unnecessary medical complications or even death.
Failure to Diagnose Brain Tumors
The signs and symptoms of a brain tumor can include dizziness, blurred vision, headache, nausea, seizure, and speech difficulty. Many of these symptoms are common with other medical conditions, such as a stroke.
If a patient experiences these types of symptoms, it is important that the doctor or other health care provider carefully examines the patient in order to make a proper diagnosis. In the case of a brain tumor, the best way to determine whether a brain tumor exists is usually to have an MRI or CT scan performed on the patient’s brain.
When doctors and other healthcare providers fail to properly diagnose brain tumors, the results can be devastating and, in many cases, fatal. Victims and their loved ones have the right to take legal action against the negligent parties.
Failure to Diagnose Breast Cancer
Women in the U.S. have long been encouraged to conduct self-exams for breast cancer and to promptly consult with their doctor if they find any abnormalities. Many times, quick action by women may help lead to early detection of breast cancer, which may ultimately save their lives.
In some instances, however, despite a patient seeking prompt medical attention, the healthcare provider may fail to diagnose breast cancer or may fail to prescribe testing to determine the presence of breast cancer. Later, when the woman is determined to have cancer, critical treatment time may have been irreparably lost. As a result, the prognosis for the woman may be much less favorable. Additional treatments may be necessary, and the woman may be at a much higher risk of losing her life.
If this happened to you or someone you love, contact the Kent failure-to-diagnose lawyer at Dore Law Group, PLLC for a free consultation regarding your rights and legal options.
Failure to Diagnose Stroke
Fast diagnosis and treatment of a stroke are critical for saving lives and preventing permanent disabilities for survivors. When a stroke occurs, brain cell-killing chemicals are released and brain injury begins.
When a patient exhibits stroke symptoms, it’s critical that the doctor conduct a comprehensive examination to determine if the patient is actually suffering from a stroke or whether some other medical condition is occurring. Common symptoms exhibited by stroke victims include sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg; sudden confusion or problems in vision; severe headache and dizziness; or lack of coordination or balance.
Proving Liability in Failure to Diagnose Cases
When a doctor fails to make the correct diagnosis, a careful review of the doctor’s actions should be undertaken to see if the doctor acted in accordance with proper medical standards. For this review, our firm often engages other doctors, nurses, or qualified healthcare providers to examine the symptoms presented by the patient and the doctor’s examination of the patient. Only after a careful review can we ascertain whether the doctor may have been negligent.
Unsafe Hospital Conditions $2.5 Million
Failure to Diagnose Cause of Paralysis $2 Million
Railroad Bulkhead Collapse $1.8 Million
Motorcycle v. Commercial Truck $1.2 Million
Unsecured Load Injury $1.2 Million
Failure to Diagnose Breast Cancer $1 Million