No matter what condition has been diagnosed, early intervention is key to managing the illness and giving the patient the best possible prognosis. When a condition has the potential to be fatal, such as cancer, a delayed diagnosis can deprive the patient of months or years of life. Without prompt treatment, even initially mild conditions can develop into dangerous, excruciating health problems that demand aggressive, expensive care plans.
If you, your spouse, or one of your family members suffered from complications after a diagnosis or medical treatment was delayed, you may have a right to compensation. With more than 75 years of combined experience representing the victims of delayed and missed diagnoses, the medical malpractice attorneys of Hasbrook & Hasbrook are thoroughly prepared to face any challenge on your behalf. We are proud to serve the residents of Oklahoma City and the surrounding communities, including Norman, Edmond, Moore, McLoud, El Reno, and Guthrie.
To arrange a free legal consultation with Hasbrook & Hasbrook, call our law offices at (405) 698-3040, including nights and weekends. Your information will always be kept confidential, and you will never be charged any fees unless we are able to obtain compensation for you.
Suing for Medical Malpractice: How Negligence Causes Delayed Diagnosis and Treatment
While patients don’t expect doctors to be infallible, they do expect to receive timely and competent care. When a doctor negligently fails to meet professional care standards, and a patient suffers preventable harm as a result, it is known as medical malpractice. The occurrence of malpractice must be proven by the plaintiff, who may submit as evidence medical records, medical scans/images, expert testimony, photographs, and other documents.
A doctor who commits malpractice can be held liable for compensating the patient who was injured, or, if the patient was killed by the delay in diagnosis or treatment, the patient’s surviving beneficiaries. When a person is killed by the negligent, reckless, or unlawful acts of another person, the death is described as a wrongful death.
In 2013, medical errors became the third leading cause of death in the United States, claiming nearly 450,000 lives. Many of these errors involved failures to diagnose and/or provide prompt treatment following a diagnosis, which can occur due to factors like:
- Delegation of tasks to doctors who lack adequate experience.
- Failing to adequately investigate a patient’s symptoms.
- Failing to purchase the necessary medical equipment and devices.
- Failing to repair or replace defective or broken equipment and devices.
- Failing to schedule follow-up care and patient appointments where necessary.
- Fatigue and exhaustion, often caused by understaffing.
- Lack of appropriate qualifications.
- Lack of experience.
- Lack of supervision.
- Misinterpreting the results of a diagnostic test, which is an especially high risk if the doctor is inexperienced or examines the test results with any preconceived conclusions already in mind.
Did Your Doctor Fail to Diagnose Your Medical Condition?
Failures to diagnose and provide timely care can occur for many different reasons, even among doctors who are highly experienced. Unfortunately, many of the most frequently misdiagnosed conditions are also some of the most debilitating. Medical conditions that commonly go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed include:
- Breast Cancer
- Diagnostic Methods – Mammography, biopsy, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans
- Warning Signs – Nipple discharge, changes to breast tissue, rash/itching
- Common Misdiagnoses – Fibroadenoma, mastitis, benign cysts
- Cardiovascular Disease (Heart Disease)
- Diagnostic Methods – Physical exam, ECG (electrocardiogram)
- Warning Signs – Chest pain, nausea, jaw pain, fatigue
- Common Misdiagnoses – Asthma, anxiety, GERD (gastrointestinal reflux disease)
- Celiac Disease
- Diagnostic Methods – Blood tests, small bowel biopsy
- Warning Signs – Chronic diarrhea, chronic constipation, weight loss, oral sores
- Common Misdiagnoses – IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia
- Diagnostic Methods – Blood tests (fasting plasma glucose, random glucose)
- Warning Signs – Increased thirst/hunger, fatigue, blurred vision, headaches
- Common Misdiagnoses – Depression, multiple sclerosis
- Lung Cancer
- Diagnostic Methods – CT scan, sputum cytology, X-ray scan
- Warning Signs – Chronic cough, decreased appetite, difficulty breathing, coughing up blood or discolored saliva/phlegm
- Common Misdiagnoses – Asthma, pneumonia, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), bronchitis, TB (tuberculosis)
- Lyme Disease
- Diagnostic Methods – ELISA/Western Blot tests
- Warning Signs – Skin rash (usually in the form of a bull’s eye), facial paralysis, swollen joints
- Common Misdiagnoses – Lou Gehrig’s disease/ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), rheumatoid arthritis
- Diagnostic Methods – Blood cultures, spinal tap (lumbar puncture) to collect cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)
- Warning Signs – Stiff neck, fever, light sensitivity, headache
- Common Misdiagnoses – Flu, strep throat, sinus infection
Contact an Oklahoma City Medical Malpractice Attorney at Hasbrook & Hasbrook for Help With Your Legal Matter
If you suffered harm because your doctor failed to diagnose and treat your medical condition, you may have a right to be compensated. Call the Oklahoma diagnostic error attorneys of Hasbrook & Hasbrook at (405) 698-3040 to arrange a free and completely confidential legal consultation.