Hospital physicians by necessity often work in a high-stress environment in which the ability to quickly assess injury or illness and to determine the most appropriate treatment path is not only highly valued but can also make the difference between between recovery and a worsened medical condition. But on occasion the need for alacrity can lead to a misdiagnosis, a common source of medical malpractice.
In times past the failure to correctly diagnose the source of a patient’s symptoms might have been due to ignorance or even a lack of adequate training, but as the science and technology of medicine have advanced the reasons for making this kind of medical mistake may be because of the increasing range of possibilities based on the same manifestations. Chest pains and shortness of breath may be because of a heart attack, or a gallstone, costochondritis or even mental stress; making the wrong diagnosis can lead to delayed treatment or worse.
There are many ways for a physician to reach the wrong diagnosis Aside from confusing symptoms of one injury or malady for another, drawing the wrong conclusions from an X-Ray or an MRI, or a miscommunication between individuals or departments within the hospital can also lead treatment providers astray. When such errors or breakdowns of communication result in patient harm, then an analysis needs to be done to determine if a negligence lawsuit should be brought against the doctor, or the hospital, or both.
It is not always easy to prove that misdiagnosis was the cause of harm to a patient. That is why we at Braunfotel & Frendel LLC use our attorneys’ experience to investigate medical malpractice claims. If the investigation determines that diagnosis failure or another instance of negligence caused the resulting harm, we can help to either negotiate a just settlement or to take the client’s claim through trial.