Before doctors or hospitals can prescribe any treatment, they have to know what it is wrong with the patient. They are supposed to be trained on which tests—depending on the patient’s symptoms and medical history—to perform to make a proper diagnosis. Health care providers must read and assess those tests correctly. Physicians who make diagnostic errors can cause the patient to die, to suffer until the correct diagnosis is made, or to undergo unnecessary treatments and procedures.
Types of diagnostic errors
Health care providers can make the following types of health care mistakes:
- An improper diagnosis or misdiagnosis. Doctors who make the wrong diagnosis of your illness don’t provide the right treatments and don’t correct your medical problems.
- A failure to diagnose. Here the physician fails to make any diagnosis of your medical problem. He/she fails to recognize that you have cancer, for example.
- A delay in the diagnosis. Delays in diagnosing a medical condition can cause your body to deteriorate and the disease to accelerate. Treatments that would have worked if the diagnosis was made quickly may fail when the diagnosis is too late. Delays are often caused by a failure to order MRIs, blood work, biopsies, or other tests in a timely manner.
Diagnostic errors include failure to read the test results correctly, using improper equipment, mixing up your blood work with that of another patient, and many other errors. Competent Ohio medical malpractice lawyers work with experienced medical professional to determine if a diagnostic error occurred.
Medical conditions that are often worsened by diagnostic error
A defective diagnosis at best means that additional surgeries, treatments, and medications will be required. At worst, it means a patient never fully recovers or dies. Some common examples of diagnostic error are:
- Cardiology errors. Patients with chest pains, dizziness, and other heart attack or stroke symptoms should be treated for heart disease and not heartburn or migraines. Quick attention can save a life.
- A failure to order the right tests, such as biopsies, can delay the necessary treatment. The difference between treating stage-2 cancer and stage-3 cancer can be the difference between life and death.
- Chest X-Rays are not the sole determining factor in diagnosing or ruling out pneumonia. A full set of appropriate tests should be ordered if pneumonia is suspected.
- Cerebral Palsy (CP). This condition is often diagnosed incorrectly. Some children with CP are not properly diagnosed and some children who don’t have CP are mistakenly diagnosed with the condition.
- Fungal lung infections. This condition, also called aspergillosis, is often misdiagnosed.
Sometimes, the correct diagnosis has to be made during surgery. A failure to treat the right problem, during pregnancy for example, can lead to birth defects, infections, preeclampsia, and endanger the life of the child and the mother.
At Crandall & Pera Law, our Ohio and Kentucky medical malpractice lawyers have helped many medical malpractice patients get justice in the form of multi-million dollar verdicts against doctors and hospitals who commit medical error.
If you suspect medical malpractice harmed you or a loved one, please call our lawyers at 877-686-8879 in Ohio and 877-686-8879 in Kentucky. You can also reach us through our contact form. We take cases on a contingency fee basis.