There are many aspects of medical care that patients entrust to physicians, pathologists, technicians, and other health care providers. While it is unreasonable to think that individuals who pursue careers in the medical profession will never make a mistake, patients trust that any mistakes that will be made will be promptly discovered and remedied before they suffer any harm. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
One aspect of patient care that is particularly sensitive and is particularly prone to mistakes is diagnostics. If a patient’s condition is not properly promptly identified, that patient can suffer all kinds of negative consequences. Although no amount of compensation can make up for a diagnosis error that causes harm, it is important for patients to understand that they have opportunities for recourse under the law if they have suffered injuries as a result of diagnosis errors. Although not all diagnosis mistakes are legally actionable, a great many of them are. Speaking with a lawyer will help to clarify your rights and options if you are the victim of a diagnosis error.
Failure to Diagnose
As an experienced Oregon medical malpractice lawyer – including those who practice at Andersen Morse & Linthorst – can confirm, many patients suffer significantly because they have never been properly diagnosed. When a failure to diagnose results in harm, and proper patient care – as defined by both the law and the medical profession itself – should have resulted in a diagnosis, that situation may be legally actionable.
Sometimes, patients are properly diagnosed but they should have been – in accordance with the legal standard of care owed to patients by their providers – diagnosed far earlier. If this kind of delay in diagnosis results in significant harm, it may be legally actionable.
All too often, patients are diagnosed incorrectly and either fail to undergo proper treatment or are subjected to unnecessary treatment as a result of that diagnostic failure. Such cases are legally actionable when they result in harm and that harm could have been avoided had adequate care been provided.
Understanding What Happened and What You Can Do About It Now
It isn’t always easy to know whether a diagnosis could have been caught earlier or even whether a diagnosis error occurred at all. Most healthcare professionals don’t like to admit when they have made mistakes or may not know when they have made certain mistakes, so patients are often left in the dark as to what has happened to them.
It is important to understand that if you are unsure of exactly what has happened to you, an attorney who practices medical malpractice law may be able to discreetly uncover the truth. At that point, you can make informed decisions about whether to hold any of your health care providers responsible for any harm that you may have suffered as a result of substandard care. Again, not every diagnosis error case is legally actionable but because yours might be, it is worth your time and effort to speak with an attorney about your situation.