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Can I Sue My Doctor Over Failure to Diagnose
Medical malpractice is an umbrella term that encompasses a wide array of medically negligent acts. Examples of medical malpractice include a medical professional's improper administration of treatment, administration of the wrong treatment, and failure to diagnose an ailment.
However, just because your medical provider may have failed to diagnose a condition does not mean you automatically have a medical malpractice claim. Medical malpractice can be very difficult and costly to prove. If you believe you may have a malpractice claim, you should consult a knowledgeable attorney to ensure you have a strong case.
Medical Malpractice Basics
To understand whether you can file negligence claims due to a failure to diagnose, you should first have an understanding of medical malpractice basics.
In order to have a malpractice claim, your medical professional must have acted negligently. This is to say that your doctor failed to treat you with a standard of care. A standard of care is the agreed upon method or methods employed by medical providers in the given geographic area for a condition or illness. This standard changes depending on a number of factors, including the age of the patient and the condition being treated.
In addition to showing that your provider breached a standard of care, you must also show that this breach is what caused your injuries. This is called causation. Proving causation can be very time-consuming and often requires the use of expert witnesses.
Finally, to have a valid claim, you must have been injured. You will need to establish proof of your injuries if you wish to sue for failure to diagnose.
Failure to Diagnose
As stated, failure to diagnose can be a cause of action for a medical malpractice claim. However, just because a medical professional failed to diagnose your condition or failed to provide you with the proper diagnosis does not automatically guarantee you have a strong negligence claim.
Medicine may be a science, but, unfortunately, it is not an exact science. Even the most educated and experienced doctors may become perplexed as to the identity of a patient's root ailment. The law is not so strict as to hold doctors accountable for failing to make the proper diagnosis 100 percent of the time.
Rather, the law only requires medical professionals to act according to the proper standard of care. If you have evidence that your doctor violated this standard when failing to diagnose your condition, then you may have a legitimate malpractice claim. Oftentimes, an expert witness will be called in to determine whether a medical professional did indeed violate his or her standard of care.
If you have further questions about whether your failed or wrong diagnosis constitutes medical malpractice, you should consult a medical malpractice attorney.