Healthcare providers have an obligation to patients to deliver quality care in regards to disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment. When symptoms present themselves and the doctor fails to recognize the seriousness of the condition, a misdiagnosis could occur that might lead to a worsened health condition or even death. In 2000, doctors were generally confident that measles, for example, was no longer problematic for the U.S. Unfortunately, an important factor not realistically considered in this belief was the number of people who travel in and out of the country who may be infected with the disease. This puts unvaccinated individuals at risk.
As a result, some doctors became accustomed to the infrequency of the condition among their patients. Thus, in some cases, they have been overlooking early signs of the infection. Such a delayed or incorrect diagnosis could have grave consequences for patients, particularly children. Some parents opt to avoid the measles vaccine, believing it unnecessary given the near elimination of the disease. Unfortunately, it is the unvaccinated children that are most likely to contract measles if they come in contact with a contagious person.
When doctors provide care to sick patients, a confirmed diagnosis is vital to recommending an appropriate and effective treatment. Failure to diagnose a condition could significantly affect the ultimate outcome of that patient’s ability to fully recover. A misdiagnosis may subject the patient to unnecessary treatment and cause unwarranted emotional pain and suffering. If a patient seeks medical attention and suffers ill effects due to the negligent behavior or receiving inadequate care by a medical professional, there is reason to suspect that malpractice has occurred.
If a medical professional has caused a patient harm, the victim may want to seek the services of an experienced malpractice attorney. A skilled attorney can negotiate compensation that the patient is entitled to.
Source: ABC News, “How Doctors and Parents May Be Contributing to the Rise of Measles,” Liz Neporent, Jan. 28, 2015