A patient claims that the doctor failed to diagnose his fracture, and he wants to know whether he has a valid basis for filing a medical malpractice case against the doctor.
Filing Medical Malpractice Case for Delayed Diagnosis
The answer is going to depend on a couple of things. You believe that the doctor has delayed your diagnosis. For instance, you were checked in the emergency room, and the doctor says you are just bruised and you do not have any fractures. However, you continue to have pain a week later, and consult an orthopedist.
This doctor evaluates your case, takes an x-ray, and concludes that you have a fracture. Now, the key question is that if the condition was diagnosed earlier would your outcome or treatment be any different. This is going to determine whether you have a valid basis for a medical malpractice case or not.
If the treatment is going to be the same after the week’s delay, then in all likelihood there is nothing much you can do. Secondly, if the outcome is also going to be the same, in spite of the one week delay, then again it is very challenging to show to a jury that the doctor departed from ideal and accepted medical care, and because of that you suffered significant injury or harm. Even though there may have been a delay in diagnosis and treatment, the key question is how the outcome or treatment could have been any different.
When can You File a Lawsuit for Delayed Diagnosis?
There have been instances where the doctor has failed to diagnose conditions such as a fracture, and much time has gone on. When the condition is finally diagnosed, the patient needs surgery to correct the problem, the patient will have to go through rehabilitation, patient will need extended time for the healing process of the bone, and there might be other health problems as well caused by the delay in diagnosis.
Hence, the question always in these types of delays in diagnosis and treatment cases is, would the treatment or outcome could have been any different if the condition were timely and properly diagnosed when the patient came with the problem.
Therefore, the strength of your medical malpractice case involving failure to diagnose will depend on the extent of injury you have suffered due to the delayed diagnosis or the extra cost and procedures you had to go through for treating the condition, which would not have been required if the condition was diagnosed early.
Information You must Convey
If the length of your treatment, the cost of your treatment, and the outcome of your treatment all remain the same, after the diagnosis, then you may not have much of a case. You might have suffered certain pain and discomfort from the time your condition was not diagnosed up to the time it was correctly diagnosed, but that may not have much impact on the jury. You need to show to the jury that if your condition was diagnosed early you could have been spared extra treatment, cost, and the outcome would have been much better.