Failure to Diagnose

Lawyer for Medical Malpractice Cases in Seattle, WA

One of the deadliest forms of medical malpractice is the failure to diagnose—essentially the doctor failing to perform the proper tests, recognize symptoms, and diagnose you properly so that you can receive the proper amount of treatment. Before you can pursue a medical malpractice case, there are certain elements that must be met; they include successfully proving the following four points:

  • The medical professional had a legal duty of care. This means that a doctor-patient relationship was established and the medical professional had a duty to properly use his or her medical knowledge to safely practice medicine while adhering to the standards set by the industry.
  • That duty of care was breached. This means that the medical professional behaved in a way that was not adhering to industry standards by making a significant mistake.
  • You as a patient suffered injury or illness. This could be emotionally, financially, or physically. In cases of failure to diagnose, this could mean the condition worsened.
  • The breach of duty caused this harm. It's not enough that the medical professional breached his or her duty of care, and it's not enough that you suffered injury or illness. You need to prove that the two points are interconnected—that your harm was directly caused by the duty being breached.

When is a failure to diagnose considered medical malpractice?

This, however, does not mean that a failure to diagnose you will always result in medical malpractice. After all, medical professionals are human too and cannot be held to standards of absolute perfection—mistakes can honestly happen that they should not be held responsible for. In some cases, they may have behaved perfectly and a condition still went undiagnosed, or the failure to diagnose did not cause serious harm. The failure to diagnose may have even been partially your fault for withholding information.

That being said, in some cases, the failure to diagnose can be considered medical malpractice. For example, if the doctor failed to ask the patient about their medical history, or if they didn't ask about personal habits (such as smoking). It might also be medical malpractice if the doctor did not order the proper tests or screenings to comprehensively check your health, if they didn't recognize your symptoms, or if they didn't properly read the results from your test. Due to the complexities of these types of cases, it is extremely important that no time is wasted in getting the involvement of a Seattle personal injury lawyer from Ward Smith, PLLC as soon as possible. With nearly 50 years' experience, we can fight for justice on your behalf.

To contact our firm, give us a call today at (206) 866-2832.

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