There are many serious medical conditions that require prompt medical care. When these medical conditions are not diagnosed and treated in a timely manner, it can lead to devastating or catastrophic outcomes for patients.
Medical misdiagnoses and delayed diagnoses fall into the category of medical malpractice, and if you have been the victim of either, you may be able to hold the negligent health care providers responsible for their actions or inactions.
At Drake & Collopy, P.C., our experienced legal team is dedicated to helping each client recover the compensation they deserve as the victim of medical malpractice. Our mission is to provide competent and aggressive representation to hold those responsible accountable and to recover the maximum compensation for the client. The first step is to get in touch with us to discuss your situation.
Potential Consequences of a Delayed Diagnosis in Chicago
The potential consequences of a delayed diagnosis obviously depend on your particular medical condition. Generally, individuals who are the victim of delayed diagnosis are not aware that this has occurred. It usually takes time to realize a mistake was made. With some medical conditions, even a short delay in making the diagnosis and starting the proper medical care for that condition can have devastating outcomes.
Some medical conditions where a prompt diagnosis and treatment is critical include:
- Cancer: When diagnosed early, some cancers have a cure rate of 90% or higher. Delayed diagnosis, however, allows cancerous cells to multiply and spread in the body and can lead to a substantially lower recovery rate.
- Internal injuries: These injuries sometimes do not have outward symptoms, but may be deadly if not treated promptly. Internal bleeding or damage to organs all indicate a medical emergency.
- HIV: Patients with HIV can start protease inhibitors immediately to slow or even stop AIDS from developing if diagnosed in a timely manner.
- Cardiac issues: Clogged arteries, arrhythmia, and an irregular heartbeat can all be treated with bypass surgery or a pacemaker when caught in time.
- Blood clots: If blood clots are not diagnosed promptly, they may cause a pulmonary embolism or prevent blood flow to organs or the brain, which can lead to a serious injury or death.
- Diabetes: Delayed diagnosis and treatment for diabetes can cause unregulated insulin, resulting in kidney issues and may affect vision and cause other health issues.
- Pregnancy complications: Issues like gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and placental abruption that are not promptly diagnosed and treated can impact the lives of the baby and mother.
Potential Consequences of a Medical Misdiagnosis
The potential consequences of a misdiagnosis can be the same as those of a delayed diagnosis. In both situations, the necessary medical treatment for the patient’s actual condition is not promptly provided and can lead to serious harm. In the case of a misdiagnosis, there are potentially additional harms caused to the patient. This is because the patient may receive treatment that is unnecessary for their condition.
In cases where more aggressive forms of medical treatment are given, the treatment itself can cause substantial harm to the patient. For example, if chemotherapy was ordered for a patient who was incorrectly diagnosed with cancer, the chemotherapy itself can cause substantial physical harm. Additionally, being incorrectly diagnosed with a serious or terminal medical condition can lead to severe emotional and psychological trauma in the patient.
Common Causes of Medical Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis
Doctors and other health care providers can make an array of diagnostic errors that may result in a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. The most common of these types of errors include:
Mistakes in Lab Tests
Most labs process hundreds of samples daily. Some of the mistakes that can be made include:
- Reporting the wrong results
- Reporting results to the wrong patient
- Testing the wrong patient sample
- Contaminating samples
If lab test error occurs, a doctor may diagnose you with a condition or disease you do not have or may fail to diagnose a condition or disease you do have. In these situations, the lab that made the mistake may be held responsible.
Misread Diagnostic Tests
Doctors are required to read a substantial number of diagnostic tests every day. Sometimes, mistakes are made when reading and interpreting these tests. Some of the tests that are prone to these errors include X-rays, CT scans, blood tests, PET scans, and MRIs.
Failing to Report Abnormal Results or Order Additional Testing
Other diagnostic errors on the part of the treating physician include:
- Failing to order tests that are needed based on the patient’s symptoms or other diagnostics
- Failing to obtain the results of testing from the lab
- Failing to contact the patient when abnormal test results are reported and received
- Failing to refer the patient to a medical specialist
Failing to Identify or Appreciate Symptoms
A common cause of misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis is a failure of the physician to identify or to appreciate the significance of a patient’s symptoms. If a thorough exam is not conducted, symptoms may be missed. In other cases, symptoms that are seen can be indicative of a minor condition but can also be related to a serious medical condition. Doctors need to be able to distinguish between minor conditions that will generally resolve with time and serious conditions that require immediate treatment. The failure to do so can lead to serious consequences for the patient.
Contact Our Legal Team for Help with Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis Cases
If you are the victim of a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis that caused you harm, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses. Contact us without delay so we can investigate your case and, if we determine a case can be brought, get to work right away to help you recover the full compensation you are entitled to. You can count on our experienced legal team to fight aggressively on your behalf.