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Fort Smith Failure to Diagnose Lawyers

Diagnosis is the foundation of medicine. Effective treatment cannot begin until an accurate identification has been made. If the diagnosis is wrong or delayed, the patient’s outcome may be compromised. That’s why the attorneys at McCutchen & Sexton – The Law Firm have dedicated their lives to defending those who have suffered unnecessary harm due to someone else’s negligence. Our experienced medical malpractice lawyers are here to make sure that you get the compensation and justice you deserve.

Over 15 million patients are misdiagnosed in the outpatient setting annually. These failures result in an annual death rate of approximately 100,000. It is estimated that over 50,000 hospitalized patients die annually as a result of misdiagnosis. Overcrowding of emergency rooms leads to an overt failure to make any diagnosis whatsoever in the majority of patients seen in the ER setting. Even though diagnostic errors are less common than medication errors, there are twice as many tort claims for diagnostic errors. Failure to diagnose a medical condition contributes significantly to the 500,000 annual deaths attributed to medical errors.

It is important to realize that physicians do make errors, and society allows for some limited errors in judgment. Society does not expect doctors to be infallible, and perfection is not the standard of care. No-fault diagnostic errors also occur. They happen when the disease is silent, appears atypically, or mimics another more common disease.

However, when diagnoses are missed due to negligence, the doctor may be held liable if their failure causes you injury. Most often, the missed diagnoses are those that are clear and unambiguous. These may include sprains, fractures, skin infections, foreign bodies, and others. McCutchen & Sexton – The Law Firm can help you identify whether your missed diagnosis was caused by negligence. If so, our Fort Smith failure to diagnose attorneys can help you pursue a medical malpractice claim to recover financial compensation for your resulting injuries and expenses. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today at (479) 783-0036.

How do missed diagnoses typically happen?

According to The American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys, most errors occur in three main ways. Failure to diagnose occurs when:

  • The physician misses the correlation between physical symptoms, physical exam findings, lab, and other tests to the proper medical condition. When this occurs, it completely circumvents the chance for treatment.
  • The doctor incorrectly interprets physical findings, the data from labs and tests, and the illness. Once again, this is a failure to diagnose and may result in missed or delayed treatment.
  • There is a delay in diagnosis. Again, this is effectively a failure-to-diagnose. By way of example, a missed diagnosis of appendicitis may allow disease progression from being localized to systemic.

Frequently included in failure-to-diagnose are the scenarios of misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis. Usually the former happens when the doctor actually makes the wrong determination and then commits the patient to an incorrect treatment regime. A delayed diagnosis occurs when the physician’s impressions are late. In both cases, the results can be severe, up to and including death. In any instance of failure to diagnose, the common denominator is that the patient does not get adequate medical care.

How are diagnoses missed?

A few of the typical errors that physicians have been known to make include:

  • Overtly missing or misreading a test;
  • Failure to order the appropriate lab tests or imaging studies;
  • Misinterpretation of physical signs such as chest pain or stroke symptoms;
  • Failure to recognize the urgency of tests and make the diagnosis in a timely manner (or at all)
  • Missing any changes in current symptoms that are hallmarks for a deteriorating condition.
  • Failing to keep pace with the advancements in medicine and therefore losing the required standard of professional competence.

None of these preclude another critical error: the failure to communicate clearly to the patient about the crucial facts, issues, and available options concerning the patient’s condition and prognosis.

Standard of Care

Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or other healthcare professional, through a negligent act or omission such as failure to diagnose, causes an injury to a patient. The negligence might be the result of errors in diagnosis, treatment, aftercare, or health management. A patient has the right to expect that healthcare professionals will deliver care that is consistent with these standards. If it is determined that the standard of care was not met then negligence may be established. The most common form of negligence by a doctor is when they fail to diagnose a condition because they dismiss the symptoms as being temporary, minor, the patient’s imagination, or just not worthy of treatment.

Why Do I Need an Attorney?

Not all failure to diagnose cases are actionable. When they are, they are usually very tough to prove. You will have to demonstrate that your healthcare provider failed to give you the standard of care, that their failure led directly to your injuries, and that your injuries caused you significant and substantial damages.

To do this, you will need an attorney who has litigated multiple failure-to-treat cases. You should be confident that they have a track record of success with these cases. This will allow you the best chances of building a methodical case and will afford you the best chances of winning the maximum amount of compensation.

Contact Us

If you have been harmed by a failure to diagnose, you need to recover money for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. We will fight for all the money that you deserve to cover your past, present and future expenses, as well as damages for pain and suffering. If the physician’s conduct was particularly egregious, we may be able to secure punitive damages for you. The medical malpractice lawyers at McCutchen & Sexton – The Law Firm have decades of experience investigating, prosecuting, and litigating medical malpractice cases involving a failure to diagnose. If you or your loved one was the victim of a failure to diagnose, contact us today at (479) 783-0036 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney.