When you go to the doctor with a set of symptoms and medical history, you hope and trust that the doctor will use the accepted professional standards of the medical community to diagnose what’s wrong and determine what an appropriate course of treatment may be. Oftentimes preventable injuries occur because of medical malpractice. If you have been injured or have lost someone you love because of a missed diagnosis, you may be entitled to compensation. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, our seasoned Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys may be able to help you assess your legal options.Missed Diagnosis
Medical care should make people feel better. Unfortunately, there are situations in which a diagnosis is missed and appropriate care is not provided. Around 98,000 people die every year because of medical errors that could be prevented. Factors that contribute to medical errors can include things like a flawed medical culture, a lack of continuity of care, resistance to change, and more. When, for example, a doctor fails to conduct an appropriate differential diagnosis or neglects to ask an important question about the patient’s history, malpractice may have occurred.
When assessing your medical condition, a doctor should start by collecting initial information about what you’re experiencing as well as your medical history. You may be asked what your symptoms are, how long you’ve had your symptoms, what triggers them, whether they have gotten better or worse and under what conditions, whether you use alcohol or tobacco, whether you take prescription medications, and whether there have been major stressors or events in your life recently. You may be put through one or more exams. Depending on the situation, an exam may involve monitoring your heart rate, listening to your lungs, taking your blood pressure, and ordering basic laboratory blood or urine tests. Differential diagnosis is the process whereby a doctor lists possible diseases or conditions that may be causing your symptoms. In creating this list, the doctor should consider your medical history and your physical exam and lab work. He will need to test each of these possibilities. Additionally, further lab work may be ordered to rule out conditions listed in the differential diagnosis.Elements of Medical Malpractice
Not all missed diagnoses count as medical malpractice, but a dedicated medical negligence lawyer can assess the facts of your case to determine whether you can fulfill the elements of this sort of claim. In order to establish liability to recover damages, you will need to establish: (1) you were owed a professional duty of care, (2) breach of the professional duty of care, (3) causation, and (4) damages. Generally, if a patient would have had the same outcome regardless of whether the diagnosis was made at the time the breach occurred, it won’t be possible to recover damages. There has to be a causal relationship between the missed diagnosis and the harm suffered.
The breach of the professional duty of care could occur when the doctor is doing a patient history intake and asks questions about symptoms. It might happen because a doctor fails to list a medical condition as a possibility in the list of possible diagnoses. For example, if a doctor fails to conduct a biopsy to rule out breast cancer where symptoms were suggestive of breast cancer, a jury may view that as a breach of the professional duty of care.
You will need to retain an expert to review your medical records and determine whether there is a sound basis to pursue damages for medical malpractice on a theory of a missed diagnosis. Expert testimony may also be needed to establish breach of professional standard of care, causation, and damages.Retain a Seasoned Medical Malpractice Attorney in Syracuse
Health care providers owe a professional duty of care to their patients to review their histories and symptoms carefully. If you were harmed by a missed diagnosis in Syracuse, you can talk about your situation with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represents clients harmed in Syracuse, Rochester, and throughout Upstate New York, including in Canandaigua, Binghamton, Cooperstown, Auburn, Lyons, Herkimer, Elmira, Wampsville, Ithaca, Utica, Lowville, Oswego, Oneida, and Watertown. Call DeFrancisco & Falgiatano at 315-479-9000 or contact us through our online form.