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Common failure to diagnose claims

In New Mexico and across the U.S., failure to diagnose and improper diagnosis are common medical malpractice claims that can arise in a variety of circumstances. Laws in New Mexico allow for a patient that has suffered unnecessary complications or procedures due to a failure to diagnose or improper diagnosis to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor or hospital responsible for the misdiagnosis.

Failure to diagnose can be categorized in two basic ways. Either the doctor failed to notice a disease that he or she reasonably should have noticed and informed the patient about in time, or the doctor diagnosed the patient with the incorrect disease or condition. If this mistake causes the patient to undergo unnecessary procedures, or if they suffer injury or sickness that could have been prevented had the disease been diagnosed properly, then they may be eligible for a claim.

A misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose can happen with almost any injury or condition, but most lawsuits arise from a relatively small selection of conditions that have serious and sometimes fatal consequences if they are misdiagnosed or not diagnosed in time. The top five misdiagnosed conditions that come with rapid and serious consequences are heart attack, lung cancer, breast cancer, appendicitis and colon cancer. Since misdiagnosis of these conditions can lead rapidly to severe injury or death, the malpractice payouts for those claims are usually among the highest.

If a patient has suffered due to a failure to diagnose, the best thing they can do is collect as much evidence as possible related to the condition as quickly as possible. Cause and effect are important in malpractice cases, and the doctor's attorneys will often try to argue that the complications would have arisen regardless of the misdiagnosis. The more evidence a patient has, the better their claim will be. A malpractice attorney can help in collecting and organizing this evidence to make a solid case.

Source: Right Diagnosis, "How Common is Failure to Diagnose?", September 22, 2014

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