Although many lives in New Mexico are saved by medical treatment, there are also plenty of times when a doctor’s mistakes have resulted in a patient’s worsened condition. One of the most common ways that a patient can be harmed by a negligent doctor is through misdiagnosis. A misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis could potentially cause injuries to a patient either because a disease was allowed to progress further or because the patient was given the wrong medication.
When assessing whether or not a medical professional is responsible for the misdiagnosis of a patient, an investigator may look into the doctor’s ‘differential diagnosis.” A differential diagnosis is a list of a doctor’s educated guesses about what diseases a patient symptoms indicate. A prudent doctor would be expected to consider and eliminate the possibility of each of these diseases in their order of probability.
If a doctor is found guilty of misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, he or she may be held liable for injuring the patient. In addition to letting the disease itself increase in severity, the doctor could have caused even more injuries by subjecting the patient to erroneous treatments.
A patient may not discover a misdiagnosis until after enduring a great deal of improper treatment. When the patient finally discovers the truth, the patient’s medical history may have become long and complex. A medical malpractice attorney might be able to conduct a thorough investigation in order to unravel the patient’s entire case history. With all of the organized medical records as evidence, the attorney could then help the patient to seek compensation for his or her injuries by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Source: Findlaw, “Failed/Erroneous Diagnosis and Treatment“, August 14, 2014