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Failure to Diagnose a Medical Illness

What Constitutes Medical Malpractice for Failure to Diagnose?

Few things can be more frustrating, and ultimately more distressing, than seeking medical treatment and being told that you are fine, only to learn later that you have a serious medical condition, one that could have been easily remedied with a proper and timely diagnosis. Medical professionals have a duty to use reasonable care to determine the nature of your illness. When they fail to do so, you can seek damages for their negligence.

What Must You Prove to Recover Compensation for Failure to Diagnose?

Failure to diagnose involves a situation where a doctor, physician or other medical professional does not take appropriate steps to identify your medical condition. In order to get monetary damages, you must show that the doctor acted negligently, and that that the doctor's negligence caused injury to you. Under the common law of negligence, every person has a duty to act as a reasonable person would, given the same circumstances. For medical professionals, the standard is that of a reasonable person with the same training and experience. According, when looking at whether or not a doctor was negligent in failing to make a specific diagnose, the court will try to determine what a reasonable person with the same training, skill and knowledge would have done, and will evaluate the facts to determine whether the doctor followed those procedures. The diagnostic standards vary from case to case, so courts will typically seek expert testimony from other diagnostic physicians, so that they can establish whether the actions your doctor took were reasonable. It is important to understand that a doctor is not required to order or subject you to every possible test, only those that are reasonable. Some of the critical questions to ask, though, when you have suffered injury because a medical condition was not properly diagnosed, are:
  • Did the doctor complete a thorough workup, asking you detailed questions?
  • Did the doctor order appropriate blood, lab or other tests?
  • Did the doctor properly read or evaluate the results of the tests?
  • How long did the doctor take to order tests?
  • Did the doctor refer you to a specialist and, if so, was it the right type of specialist?
Contact Metzger & Kleiner At Metzger & Kleiner, we offer a free initial consultation to every client. For an appointment to discuss your concerns about injuries caused by a failure to diagnose, contact our office online or call us at 215-622-2210 in Philadelphia, 610-563-2186 in the Lehigh Valley, or toll free at 800-228-1760.

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