When you’re ill and you go to the hospital, you expect your doctor not only to know what is wrong with you but also to treat it to his best ability. However, your odds of receiving this type of care have drastically decreased within the last 10 years. Diagnostic negligence has become the number one form of medical malpractice in the United States, with most cases involving diagnostic errors for cancer. This increase not only affects the trust you have with your doctor, but a delayed or missed diagnosis can lead to prolonged illness or in some cases fatal consequences.
Diagnostic Negligence is a Common Medical Malpractice Claim
Forty percent of all medical malpractice claims center around diagnostic negligence. One reason for this high percentage may involve the increased chances of human error when diagnosing an ailment. We recognize that a healthcare facility may often have a fast-paced environment, high levels of stress and emotion, and confusion—and any of these could promote errors. Unfortunately, negligence, ill-informed decisions, and incompetence can also occur throughout the diagnostic process. Your doctor must be 100 perfect focused and open-minded during the entire process, from start to finish. This process includes:
- The initial examination. Your physician must recognize and assess every one of your symptoms
- Pre-Diagnosis. Your care provider needs to determine ALL possible diagnoses to fit those symptoms
- Diagnosis. The scientific method comes into play. Your doctor must investigate, test, and systematically rule out each possible diagnosis as quickly as possible, until left with the correct one
- Treatment. The physician must choose the best treatment for each diagnosis and factor all possible side effects
Contact a Virginia Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If, at any point, your doctor fails to meet one of these requirements and you suffer as a result, he may be subject to a malpractice lawsuit. Contact the Virginia medical malpractice lawyers at Shevlin Smith if you think you may be a victim of diagnostic negligence. Don’t allow your doctor’s error to go unpunished; you deserve better. Call us at 703.591.0067 for a free consultation.