When Misdiagnosis or Delay in Diagnosis Leads to a Patient’s Wrongful Death

Doctor shrugging shoulders after making mistakeThere is no price tag that can be placed on someone’s health. However, sometimes people get ill or suffer from a medical condition and they need treatment in order to get better. This is why a doctor’s diagnosis of a patient’s condition is critical in helping make a patient better. That being said, sometimes doctors make diagnosing errors that can make a patient’s health worse and even lead to death.

Sadly, a large number of medical malpractice wrongful deaths stem from diagnosing errors. There are different types of diagnosing errors that can lead to a patient’s death. For example, a doctor may make one of the following three diagnosing errors:

  • Delayed diagnosis. Sometimes a cancer diagnosis is delayed, which in turn causes treatment to be delayed. Sadly, time is of the essence with conditions such as cancer, and patients may die because the cancer might not be responsive to treatment at a certain point. When a doctor fails to order tests in time or fails to take the necessary steps in making a diagnosis, a diagnosis can be delayed and result in a patient’s death.
  • Misdiagnosis. Sometimes doctors observe patients, order tests on patients, and provide patients with a diagnosis of a medical condition; however, the diagnosis may be incorrect. Even though the doctor seemed like he or she took the correct steps in making a diagnosis, things could have gone wrong along the way. For example, the doctor could have misread the test results or could have mixed up patients’ tests or charts. Additionally, the technician or lab could have provided the wrong information to the doctor, which could have led to a doctor’s incorrect diagnosis. When a patient is diagnosed with a different medical condition than what he or she is actually suffering from, it could lead to incorrect treatment. Sadly, receiving treatment for the wrong health condition could make matters worse and may even lead to the patient’s death.
  • Fail to diagnose. Sometimes patients in emergency rooms are victims of this type of diagnosing error. Doctors don’t spend enough time with patients in the ER and they might not order the necessary tests to determine what exactly a patient is suffering from. When doctors fail to conduct tests that other competent doctors would have ordered or fail to seek the opinion of a specialist in arriving at a diagnosis, a patient may not get the appropriate treatment he or she needs. In fact, a patient may be sent home without a diagnosis and told that nothing is wrong. Sadly, many patients’ adverse health conditions aren’t caught in time, and they suffer fatal injuries as a result of medical negligence.

Pursuing Justice

Doctors should be held accountable if a diagnosing error caused the death of a patient. For this reason, family members who have lost loved ones due to a misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, or failure to diagnose need to learn all they can about what their rights are to a wrongful death lawsuit.

Whether the error was made by a doctor failing to act competently and evaluate the patient correctly, or the diagnosing error was made due to faulty equipment, mixed-up lab samples, or a technician reading the test results incorrectly, the hospital or negligent person responsible for the death of your loved one should be held liable for the act of medical malpractice.  

Because not all diagnosing errors are considered medical malpractice, it is important that an experienced attorney is contacted to investigate your potential claim and inform you of your rights. We would be honored to answer your questions and help you pursue justice. Please Contact Us for a complimentary consultation online or by calling us at (703) 591-0067.