During the course of their profession, doctors and other healthcare practitioners are bound to make mistakes, some more serious than others, potentially endangering their careers. One of these severe errors is properly diagnosing a disease too late. For some diseases, a delay in diagnosis can cause a lot of trouble.
A recent study by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality indicates that delayed diagnoses and other diagnostic errors occur in five percent of adults in the United States. The press release that discusses this study emphasizes the need for correct diagnoses:
“Keeping patients safe begins with a correct and timely diagnosis,” said AHRQ Director Richard Kronick, Ph.D. “Diagnostic errors made in outpatient care can be difficult to measure, and this is a relatively new area for patient safety researchers. Health care professionals are typically accurate in making diagnoses, but finding ways to improve diagnoses and eliminate errors is an important goal. This study helps us better understand the extent of the problem and focus our efforts on reducing the harm to patients.”
However, diagnostic errors still happen even with all of the best efforts of doctors and hospitals. In fact, majority of U.S. malpractice cases stem from missed or wrong diagnoses. Nearly 35 percent of the 38.8 billion of malpractice payouts are based on diagnosis-related claims. This is where a Bronx medical malpractice lawyer like those from The Law Offices of Joseph Lichtenstein comes in.
The problem with a delayed diagnosis malpractice is that it can be hard to recognize. Many patients think that since the doctor managed to eventually diagnose the disease that he or she isn’t responsible. However, if it were possible to diagnose the condition earlier, the law recognizes that it can be just as damaging as not being able to diagnose the condition.
Building a malpractice case based on a delay in diagnosis has three basic components that an experienced Bronx medical malpractice lawyer would be able to help with. First, a doctor-patient relationship must be proven to have existed between the plaintiff and the doctor in question. Second, the presence of negligence must be proven. Finally, the lawyer should be able to prove that harm was caused by the doctor’s negligence. Expert help will ensure that all three can be proven in court, which is why hiring a seasoned lawyer is your best option.
(Source: Outpatient Diagnostic Errors Affect 1 in 20 U.S. Adults, AHRQ Study Finds, AHRQ, April 16, 2014)