When a doctor fails to diagnose or detect a medical condition, it can prolong the illness. In some cases it could even prove to be a fatal mistake. That was the case with a 41-year-old woman inBrooklyn who lost her life to lung cancer.
A patient at Kings County Hospital in 2010, her cancer was not diagnosed by doctors. The cancer may have been treated if detected when she was in the hospital, but instead it spread and ended up taking her life.
The statute of limitations had expired by the time she discovered the error, but she was still awarded a $625,000 settlement before her death.
When a Delayed Diagnosis Leads to a Medical Malpractice Claim
Not all mistakes made by a doctor in diagnosing a patient will lead to a medical malpractice claim. To qualify, a patient needs to prove that the healthcare provider had acted in a negligent manner.
This comes down to what the doctor did or didn’t do, and if the care provided was reasonable. The general sequence of events begins with a patient visiting a doctor, complaining of symptoms.
It’s reasonable to expect the doctor to:
- make note of these symptoms;
- go through the patient’s medical history;
- perform an examination; and
- order tests.
In some cases, the doctor may even refer the patient to a specialist for more focused evaluation and care. Failure to follow a standard of care could indicate a doctor’s negligence.
For example, a patient visits a doctor complaining of chest pains. If the standard response to this is an X-ray and a doctor neglects to have this done, the doctor may be considered negligent. If this negligence leads to a worsening of the condition, he or she may be held liable in a malpractice claim.
Do you need a medical malpractice lawyer?
Doctors do sometimes make mistakes in diagnoses, but it can be a challenge to determine if was preventable or not. When there are questions concerning a potential medical malpractice claim, the attorneys at Gacovino, Lake & Associates in New York may be able to help.