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Proving Medical Malpractice Based on a Diagnostic Error

A majority of medical malpractice claims are pursued because of a delayed diagnosis or complete misdiagnosis of a medical ailment. When a physician’s error in diagnosis leads to the incorrect medical treatment, delayed care, or no medical care, the patient’s ailment can be made worse and places the patient at risk of serious consequences and death. A mistake in diagnosis, however, is not sufficient in and of itself to file a strong medical malpractice claim. In order to prove medical malpractice for a misdiagnosis, there are important elements that will need to be demonstrated. Here, we will discuss some factors you need to establish a strong medical malpractice lawsuit and what you can do to protect your rights.

Elements Important to Prove Medical Malpractice Based on a Diagnostic Error

Legally, medical practitioners are not held liable for every diagnostic error. Instead, a patient that has been injured as a result of medical negligence will need to demonstrate the following:

  1. There was a doctor-patient relationship established;
  2. The medical caregiver was careless;
  3. The patient was significantly injured as a result;
  4. The patient did not contribute to their own injuries.

Understanding Medical Negligence in California

A delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis alone is not sufficient to demonstrate medical negligence. Skillful medical caregivers often make diagnostic errors even when using a reasonable standard of care. In a medical malpractice case, it is important to determine if the physician acted competently.  This could involve the evaluation of the doctor’s actions or inactions when making the diagnosis through expert review and testimony.

A doctor may claim to have made an incorrect diagnosis because he or she relied on mistaken laboratory test results or other patient exams, or information from others, including the patient.  The doctor may also claim the hospital’s diagnostic equipment was defective; or samples could have been mixed up or contaminated.

Even if this is the case, another medical staff could be held accountable for his or her negligence that resulted in the injury.

Consult the Legal Support of a Qualified Medical Malpractice Attorney

Proving negligence for a delayed diagnosis or a misdiagnosis can be very difficult but patients who have suffered worsened ailments because of medical negligence have a legal right to pursue a claim. When a person suffers an injury or illness because that person did not receive medical care in a timely or adequate manner, the results can be devastating. Depending on the specific case, the ailment can have life-long consequences or could ultimately cause the untimely and unexpected demise of the patient. If you have been injured or have lost a loved one because of medical negligence, consider seeking the legal support of a qualified attorney who will fight for your right to a just recovery.

The attorneys at Heiting & Irwin have many years of experience handling medical malpractice cases involved misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis. Medical malpractice cases in California are time sensitive; seek proficient legal support as soon as possible.

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