When Doctors Fail to Conduct Tests: A Form of Medical Negligence

Doctor appears unconcerned about his failure to obtain medical test resultsPatients go to their doctors when they don’t feel well or when something is wrong, trusting their doctors will diagnose their conditions and help them get better. Often, medical tests are necessary for thorough diagnosis. However, sometimes doctors fail to order imaging tests, blood work, or other diagnostic tests when they should have.

When needed tests are left undone, a patient may not receive appropriate treatment, and his or her condition can worsen. This can happen in the following ways:

  • Emergency room doctors fail to order appropriate tests. Sometimes nurses and doctors in the emergency room (ER) are overworked and tired, and they fail to follow standard protocol. As a result, certain tests may be skipped when it is obvious specific testing should have occurred. Consequently, patients are often discharged too soon and then readmitted for the same health concern.
     
  • Primary care doctors fail to conduct diagnostic tests. Family physicians treat their patients for a multitude of different ailments, but sometimes primary care doctors don’t spend adequate time with their patients and don’t order tests when there is reason. In fact, sometimes they make their best guess and prescribe a medication, hoping it will make the patient better. If it does not, some doctors will simply try a different medication—still not conducting appropriate diagnostic tests or referring their patients to a specialist.
     
  • Surgeons fail to conduct post-surgical tests. Sometimes tests following surgeries are necessary. For instance, in a pacemaker implant surgery, testing may be needed to make sure the device has been implanted properly and it is working correctly. If a surgeon fails to recognize the patient’s deteriorating condition or ignores his complaints and concerns, the patient may be discharged too early when observation and further testing is needed. If this happens, it could constitute medical malpractice.

If you believe you were harmed or suffered further injuries because a doctor failed to conduct appropriate medical tests, you may have a medical malpractice claim. To learn more about your rights, call us or order a free copy of your book, Do I Have a Case? A Patient’s Guide to Virginia Medical Malpractice Law.