Misdiagnosis (and delayed diagnosis) incidents are unfortunately common.  Bethlehem healthcare professionals are not necessarily expected to be perfect, but they must exercise reasonable care and utilize the proper tools when engaging in the diagnostic process.  When misdiagnosis occurs, the consequences can be severe.

For example, suppose that you go in to see a doctor for some pain symptoms that are concerning you.  The doctor decides against running any tests and simply assumes that you are going through a stressful period in your life and that the stress is causing you to be excessively attentive towards various aches and pains.  In reality, however, the doctor’s failure to perform adequate testing leads to a delayed diagnosis of the true culprit: cancer.  Since the doctor failed to diagnose you early enough, the cancer advances, posing a much more significant fatality risk.

Of course, not every failed diagnosis is due to negligence.  Whether a misdiagnosis constitutes medical negligence — and therefore malpractice — depends on the particular circumstances of your case.

Common Causes of Misdiagnosis

There are a variety of factors that can give rise to misdiagnosis, including, but not limited, to:

  • Failure to properly consider prior medical history
  • Healthcare professional is rushed due to a packed schedule
  • Misreading test results
  • Ordering the wrong tests
  • Failing to order the proper battery of tests
  • Inadequate training to identify specific illness
  • Failure to obtain a second opinion from a qualified specialist
  • Failure to set up follow-ups with patient

Patients have a responsibility for their care, too, and should make sure to set up appointments with healthcare professionals early so that conditions can be identified before they reach an advanced stage.  Further, diagnosis is often uncertain.  In fact, many times, a diagnosis is merely an “informed guess.”  Whether a misdiagnosis qualifies as medical malpractice will generally be tied to the standard of care.  Healthcare professionals must adhere to the professional standard of care and must exert reasonable efforts to diagnose a patient.  For example, if a senior citizen patient is feeling pain in their chest, a physician’s failure to test the blood pressure of the patient, and therefore, failure to identify high blood pressure and potential heart attack/stroke risk, may give rise to a medical malpractice claim when the patient suffers a heart attack or stroke.

Contact Our Bethlehem Medical Malpractice Lawyers Today

If you have suffered injuries due to the negligence of a healthcare professional in misdiagnosing (or otherwise making an untimely diagnosis) your condition, Pennsylvania law may entitle you to obtain compensation for the resultant injuries.  It can be quite difficult to prove that a healthcare professional’s misdiagnosis rose to the level of medical malpractice.  In order to do so, you’ll have to show that the misdiagnosis was due to the negligence of the healthcare professional.

Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC, is a medical malpractice, personal injury, and wrongful death litigation firm that has over thirty years of experience successfully obtaining compensation for victims of misdiagnosis and other forms of medical malpractice.  Our attorneys are committed to working closely with clients to ensure that their claims are taken seriously and are pursued to the fullest extent necessary.

To connect with one of our experienced Bethlehem medical malpractice lawyers today, call (888) 777-7098 for a free consultation.