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Failure to Diagnose

Ohio Diagnostic Error Lawyers


A timely and accurate diagnosis is a critical element of medical treatment. When doctors fail to recognize warning signs or follow up on test results, patients suffer the consequences.

At The Becker Law Firm, we represent victims of misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, and failure to diagnose in Cleveland and throughout Ohio. Our legal team is equipped to handle medical malpractice cases involving serious medical conditions and wrongful death.

Our diagnostic error lawyers consult with experts who help us determine if a diagnostic failure or misdiagnosis occurred and who was at fault. Whatever led to your injury, we are here to stand up for your rights and pursue fair and just compensation for the losses you have suffered.

We handle all types of diagnostic error cases, such as:

Failure to diagnose can lead to the worsening of a medical condition that was otherwise treatable. All too often, misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis leads to wrongful death. In either case, it is important to have an experienced malpractice attorney protecting your interests.

Call us at (440) 252-4399 to schedule a free consultation with our diagnostic error attorneys in Cleveland. We handle cases throughout Ohio.

The Difference Between Misdiagnosis, Delayed Diagnosis, and Failure to Diagnose

Misdiagnosis occurs when a healthcare professional incorrectly identifies a medical condition or disease. This can involve diagnosing a condition that the patient doesn't have, failing to recognize the actual condition, or assigning an incorrect label to the illness. For example, a patient with symptoms of a heart attack is diagnosed with indigestion instead.

Delayed diagnosis refers to situations where there is a significant gap between the onset of symptoms and the correct diagnosis. The healthcare provider eventually arrives at the correct diagnosis, but the delay may lead to a progression of the disease and potentially affect the patient's prognosis. For instance, a patient with cancer experiences symptoms for months before being correctly diagnosed.

Lastly, failure to diagnose occurs when a healthcare professional completely misses or overlooks a medical condition, leading to the absence of any diagnosis. This can result in a lack of timely treatment, potentially causing harm to the patient. For example, a doctor overlooks signs of diabetes in a patient despite clear symptoms.

Examples of Diagnostic Failures

Diagnostic testing is a broad term used to describe medical tests that are intended to help diagnose problems or confirm a patient’s medical condition. Common diagnostic tests include laboratory tests and radiological and other scans. When decisions are made without correct and up-to-date information, medical providers may unintentionally cause injury.

Negligent Test Performance

Diagnostic tests that are done improperly will, of course, lead to incorrect results.

Laboratory tests can yield inaccurate results when non-sterile equipment is used or when the wrong test criteria are used. Medical providers who base their decisions on these improper tests can miss vital information, and may even exacerbate the injury or condition.

Negligent Test Interpretation

Even if a test is properly performed, it can be misread or misinterpreted.

For example, a medical provider, even a specialist like a sonographer, could miss important signs of birth injury during pregnancy. If a doctor fails to perform a timely C-section due to improper fetal monitoring, the baby could experience a lack of oxygen resulting in brain damage.

Failure to Properly Communicate Test Results

Tests that are properly performed and interpreted must often be communicated to other medical providers who will use that information to make medical decisions. If the test results are not properly communicated, then the medical provider cannot make informed decisions.

In many cases, this occurs because test results are misplaced or not sent.

Failure to Properly Follow-up on Test Results

Medical providers who order diagnostic tests must ensure that they receive the test results, and then must use that information in their follow-up treatment plan. Sometimes, this requires additional testing to be ordered, and, sometimes, it requires medical intervention.

Other examples of diagnostic failures include:

  • Time Constraints: Busy healthcare environments and time pressures can limit the amount of time clinicians have to thoroughly assess and diagnose a patient, increasing the likelihood of errors.
  • Complex Cases: Medical conditions with atypical presentations or those that mimic other diseases can pose challenges to accurate diagnosis. Uncommon or rare diseases may not be considered initially, leading to misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis.
  • Lack of Specialist Involvement: In cases where specialists are not consulted, especially for complex or uncommon conditions, there may be a higher likelihood of diagnostic errors due to a lack of specialized knowledge.
  • Technology Issues: Overreliance on diagnostic technologies, as well as errors in test results or equipment malfunction, can contribute to misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose.
  • Systemic Issues: Problems within the healthcare system, such as inadequate staffing, resource constraints, or inefficient processes, can create an environment that fosters diagnostic errors.

How to Prove Misdiagnosis in Ohio

Proving misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose in a medical context can be complex, and it often requires a thorough examination of medical records, expert opinions, and other relevant evidence. Here are steps that may be involved in establishing a case for misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose:

  1. Obtain Medical Records: Gather all relevant medical records, including doctor's notes, test results, imaging reports, and any other documentation related to the diagnosis. These records serve as a critical foundation for evaluating the care provided.
  2. Seek Expert Opinions: Consult with medical experts, preferably in the same specialty as the healthcare professional who made the diagnosis. Expert opinions can provide insights into whether the standard of care was met and if there were deviations that contributed to the misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose.
  3. Establish Standard of Care: Determine the accepted standard of care for the specific medical condition in question. This involves understanding how a reasonable and competent healthcare professional would have approached the diagnosis under similar circumstances.
  4. Show Deviation from Standard of Care: Demonstrate that the healthcare professional deviated from the established standard of care. This may involve illustrating specific actions, decisions, or omissions that were inconsistent with the accepted practices within the medical community.
  5. Causation: Establish a causal link between the deviation from the standard of care and the harm suffered by the patient. It's crucial to demonstrate that the misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose directly contributed to the patient's worsened condition or harm.
  6. Document Damages: Provide evidence of the damages suffered by the patient as a result of the misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose. This may include additional medical treatments, increased medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of income, or other relevant damages.
  7. Legal Consultation: Consult with a medical malpractice attorney who specializes in healthcare litigation. They can assess the case, guide you on the legal aspects, and help you navigate the complexities of filing a medical malpractice claim.
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Contact Us for a Free Review

Our attorneys do this work because we care about our clients and a just verdict or settlement will make a positive difference in their lives. Please contact us online or call (440) 252-4399 to arrange a free initial consultation with an experienced failure to diagnose attorney in Cleveland and Elyria.

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