In a number of posts we have written, we have highlighted the continuing problem of medical conditions being caused by delays in diagnoses. Essentially, such a delay could lead to a minor condition that would require little treatment progressing to a serious one that would require surgery or other invasive treatments.
One such condition is a spinal epidural abscess. Basically, this condition arises when a mass of infected material becomes engorged between the bones in the spine as well as the nerves and membranes that make up the spinal cord. Just like an abscess found on other parts of the body, the mass is commonly caused by bacteria, fungus or even a staph infection.
Unfortunately, a spinal epidural abscess can be misdiagnosed as a patient may only notice back pain. Also, in the process of ruling out other maladies, the delay in properly diagnosing the condition can lead to it worsening.
As we have indicated before, physicians are charged with the duty of using reasonable care in treating and diagnosing patients. This means that they must act as a physician with similar experience would in discovering the cause of a condition. If a doctor (or nurse, for that matter) deviates from the common norms, and a patient is harmed as a result, the offending doctor could be held liable.
Besides the legal implications, a doctor betrays a patient’s trust when he or she goes outside or ignores the common protocols for making diagnoses. If you have questions about how to hold an offending doctor accountable, an experienced medical malpractice attorney can help.