Is failure to diagnose considered medical malpractice?

Yes, failure to diagnose can be considered medical malpractice in many circumstances. It’s a very tricky area of the law, though, and each case is different. Below we’ll discuss some of the essential elements of a medical malpractice case, but for answers specific to your situation, you’ll want to contact a medical malpractice attorney in your area.

Negligence: The Cornerstone of a Medical Malpractice Case

Not all delayed diagnoses or misdiagnoses justify a medical malpractice claim. Even the doctors who exercise the utmost care in their profession can still make mistakes and fail to identify a condition. For the case to be considered malpractice, there has be to evidence that the doctor was somehow negligent, that s/he did not adhere to a reasonable standard of care.

In other words, would doctors with similar credentials under similar circumstances be apt to make the same mistake that your doctor made? If so, then the case likely can’t be substantiated. However, if most doctors would testify that your doctor made an unreasonable mistake that was clearly out of the scope of regular practice, you might have a viable case worth pursuing.

Below are a few examples of negligence that can lead to a failure to diagnose.

  • Failure to use industry standard diagnostic tools
  • Ordering the wrong tests
  • Failure to read your medical history
  • Overlooking significant symptoms
  • Not recognizing known risk factors
  • Misinterpreted test results

Elements of Medical Malpractice Case

There are several elements that must be established to file a claim or suit against a medical provider.

  • The provider owed you a duty of care.
  • The provider breached that duty, acting in a way that was negligent and outside of the reasonable standard of care.
  • You were harmed because of the physician's negligence. Had the doctor correctly diagnosed you, you would have suffered such a degree of damage.

Note, not all failure to diagnose injuries are the doctor’s fault. If there were errors in the lab tests, then your doctor may not be liable, but another party might.

  • The laboratory
  • The lab equipment manufacturing company
  • The transport company (an ambulance, an emergency aircraft, medical first-response system)

Your attorney can investigate liability and determine which party should be named as a defendant.

Have your questions answered? Get a Free Legal Consult Today

If you were harmed because of your doctor’s failure to diagnose, you'd want to speak to a lawyer straightaway about your legal options. Contact The Law Office of Jason R. Schultz in Georgia to talk to a medical malpractice attorney and determine whether or not you have a valid medical malpractice case. Call 404-474-0804 today.