Matters of Life and Death: Misdiagnosis and Delayed Diagnosis

By Mark T. Flickinger, JD on April 15, 2016

Doctors looking at a chartHere at Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton, we take great pride in helping the people of Provo seek justice against negligent individuals and entities. This is especially helpful when dealing with negligent doctors. Medical malpractice lawsuits hold negligent doctors accountable for their actions, which is important given that errors by doctors and surgeons put the lives of patients at risk.

What We Expect from Our Doctors

When we go to the doctor with a serious medical concern, we expect a certain degree of competence and care. This means being able to identify serious illnesses if we exhibit all of the obvious signs and symptoms of a condition, and to administer the proper treatments to address these health issues.

Sadly, this is not always the case. Medical mistakes are estimated to be the third-highest cause of death in the United States. One example of these deadly medical mistakes is delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis.

Defining Misdiagnosis and Delayed Diagnosis

Both misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis are mistakes made by doctors when it comes to determining a patient's medical problem.

A misdiagnosis may refer to diagnosis of the wrong kind of condition or missing a health condition completely. For example, a doctor may diagnose an infection when it's actually viral; or the doctor may not identify an infection at all.

A delayed diagnosis refers to catching a medical problem, though said medical problems should have been diagnosed during an earlier visit. For example, a doctor may diagnose a patient's oral cancer months after a previous visit when the patient was complaining of sores and dental pain that were signs of a serious problem.

Both of these medical mistakes are inexcusable, and they can have dire consequences.

The Consequences of a Misdiagnosis

When a doctor misdiagnoses a condition, there are many issues that may arise. In the case of diagnosing the wrong type of infection as noted in the above example, a patient may be given antibiotics rather than antiviral medication, the former being ineffective given the medical problem the patient is facing. This means the patient's health will get worse when the doctor should have helped cure the patient of the viral infection.

The Consequences of a Delayed Diagnosis

When a doctor does not diagnose a condition in a timely manner, this could literally mean the difference between life and death. So many medical problems are easier to treat the sooner they are identified. In the case of the above cancer diagnosis, the hypothetical patient would have had an easier road ahead had the cancer been detected sooner and treated aggressively. Instead, the patient may have a much more difficult fight against cancer, or perhaps the prognosis once the cancer is identified is very grim since it's too late to do anything.

How Medical Malpractice Attorneys Can Help

During a medical malpractice lawsuit, your attorney will fight diligently for you and your loved ones, seeking compensation for additional medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you lost a loved one due to issues with diagnosis, our team will fight diligently to ensure future tragic losses do not affect others in the future.

Speak with the Attorneys of Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton

If you would like more information about your legal rights following a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, be sure to contact our injury accident law firm today. The lawyers of Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton will help you seek justice against negligent medical professionals.

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