Our Firm Has Been Representing Clients in Medical Malpractice Cases Against Local Pittsburgh Hospitals and Doctors for Many Years
When we go to a medical professional for a health issue, we place our trust in them because of their education, expertise, and skill. When a medical professional makes an error in our diagnosis, the result can be serious illness or death. Aside from the physical issues, diagnostic errors can have a serious financial impact on our lives, as we seek new treatment and new medical opinions. The law provides for compensation for victims of medical malpractice, including where a medical professional made diagnostic errors.
Diagnostic errors may be the most common cause type of medical malpractice. A recent medical school study showed that diagnostic errors account for 17% of all preventable injuries among patients admitted to a hospital.
Diagnostic errors contribute to 160,000 patient injuries and deaths every year
Medical diagnostic errors fall into two categories: misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose. Both happen because the doctor did not follow standard diagnostic procedures.
There are a variety of reasons why doctors often fail to follow these standard procedures. Perhaps the doctor made their diagnosis based on their experience with prior cases rather than examining yours with the appropriate care. In some cases, the doctor may have given you a misdiagnosis because you had some of the symptoms of a common condition rather than investigating a less common but more serious one. Or maybe the doctor failed to look deeply enough into your medical history, including taking into consideration all of your pre-existing medical conditions.
Failure to Diagnose
Failure to diagnose is when a doctor issues no diagnosis at all. They may inform the patient that their health is fine, but in reality the patient is suffering from a dangerous or potentially deadly medical condition.
Misdiagnosis is when a doctor issues a diagnosis to a patient, but one that is incorrect. While being treated for the condition that was misdiagnosed, a patient is now left without the care and treatment they actually need for the injury or illness they have.
For any medical malpractice claim, including diagnostic errors claims, it is essential to establish the negligence of the doctor responsible for your care. While most medical personnel in the United States are highly qualified and competent, medical errors kill or permanently disable roughly 100,000 Americans each year.
All doctors have a responsibility to provide their patients a thorough and accurate assessment of their condition and to order whatever tests are necessary to arrive at an equally accurate diagnosis. When a doctor makes a diagnostic error in your case and you suffer harm that could have been prevented, they can be held legally liable for their mistake.
Negligence is the legal basis of all medical malpractice claims, including diagnostic errors claims
At Matzus Law LLC, we counsel our clients that in order to bring any valid medical malpractice case, it is not enough to identify that there was a diagnostic error and you were injured. The mishap must have been due to the medical negligence of a doctor, or other responsible medical professional.
The following legal elements must always be established to show that a medical professional was negligent:
The medical professional had a standard of care to uphold during the procedure. The standard of care is the level of care and skill that is expected of the medical professional. The law looks at what a medical professional with similar training would have done in the same or similar situation. Doctors are trained in medical school to accurately diagnose medical conditions. This is the standard of care required of all doctors.
The medical professional failed to uphold the standard. Whether by action or inaction, a doctor or other medical professional performs below the standard of care and skill expected of them. This is a crucial point. The medical professional is not only responsible when they act, but also when they fail to act but the standard of care dictates that they should have. This includes all of the steps in properly diagnosing a patient, including ordering the right testing, listening to their current health narrative and history, and adhering to the best practices of their areas of medical specialization.
The medical professional’s diagnostic error caused you harm. There has to be a demonstrable connection between the doctor’s diagnostic error (failure to act according to the prescribed standard of care) and your medical condition. If there is no causal link between the two, there is no legal case. Only where your condition could have been known if the medical professional adhered to the standard of care will there be the grounds for a legal case for diagnostic errors.
Yes. We regularly work on behalf of clients who have suffered an injury due to diagnostic errors. We have expertise in various areas of medical malpractice law, so please contact us to learn more about our practice.
Not all medical errors constitute medical malpractice, so it is important to speak with an attorney who can thoroughly assess the facts of your case and help you determine if a medical professional can be held legally liable for a diagnostic error.
Yes. Failing to listen to the patient’s complaints and symptoms is a form of medical misdiagnosis. Contact Matzus Law LLC today so we can begin a thorough review of the circumstances surrounding your potential claim.
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