A delayed diagnosis occurs when a patient’s health condition or disease is not properly diagnosed within a reasonable amount of time. While this is an unfortunate situation, a delayed diagnosis does not mean the doctor has conducted malpractice per se.
For every case, one must always take into consideration the appropriate standard of care. This means that a doctor has a duty to their patient to treat them as an ordinary, prudent doctor would under those same circumstances. Therefore, if an ordinary and prudent doctor would not have been able to diagnose the patient quicker, then no malpractice has occurred.
While the specific facts of a case will help determine whether this standard has been breached, a delayed diagnosis may not be considered malpractice if a patient fails to disclose truthful information or all information about their symptoms, or if the illness is particularly difficult to diagnose or is very similar to other illnesses.
If you or a loved one is severely injured due to the negligence of a medical professional, you should contact a Louisville delayed diagnosis attorney to review your rights and legal options. You and your family may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, medical bills, loss of income, and pain and suffering. A diligent medical malpractice attorney is ready to help your case.
Delayed diagnosis differs from a failure to diagnose claim. Failure to diagnose occurs when a physician completely fails to accurately diagnose a patient, while in a delayed diagnosis case, the doctor correctly diagnoses the patient, but fails to do so in a reasonable time.
The most common forms of delayed diagnosis are related to complex illnesses, such as cancer, brain injuries, internal bleeding, and heart attacks. If the patient’s illness or disease is not quickly diagnosed, it could lead to a delay in crucial treatment of a disease or other medical condition.
Doctors, technicians, hospitals, and other medical staff can be held liable in a delayed diagnosis case. Any liable party may attempt to protect themselves by blaming other named parties, claiming any wrongdoing on their part was a result of the other parties’ negligence. Since hospitals often have the most money and the most to lose, they often attempt to insulate themselves by claiming the physicians in their facilities were not acting in their scope of their employment or were not employees of the hospital, but instead were independent contractors whose actions are not attributable to the hospital.
In a delayed diagnosis case, you must be able to prove:
To live up to the duty of care, the doctor must have acted as a reasonably prudent doctor would have under the same circumstances. A delayed diagnosis case must have evidence of injuries because otherwise, there is no reason for the patient to recover any monetary costs.
To prove causation, you must show the delayed diagnosis was the cause in fact (that but for the delayed diagnosis, the patient would not have been injured or the patient’s condition would not have worsened) and that the delayed diagnosis was the legal cause of the patient’s injuries (that the patient’s injuries were a foreseeable result of the delayed diagnosis). An experienced attorney will try to prove that another doctor would have diagnosed the patient’s condition sooner by contacting a medical expert and have them examine the patient’s records to see if the offending doctor acted reasonably or if they breached their duty.
A lawyer must also complete, with the client, a certificate of merit to establish that an expert has examined the case and found that the client’s claims are meritorious and not frivolous. As opposed to other malpractice claims, the lawyer must always keep in mind the client’s condition before the delayed diagnosis and any mitigating factors the client could have taken to limit the harm they suffered.
An injury does not have to appear immediately in order to recover in a delayed diagnosis case. However, the patient only has a year from the date of their injury or the delayed diagnosis or when the patient should have been aware of their injury to file their claim. Therefore, you must talk with an attorney as soon as you are aware of the delayed diagnosis in order to preserve your claim.
Experts are used in a delayed diagnosis case to establish the applicable standard of care and the proper timeline of the diagnosis. Essentially, experts are used to determine when the doctor should have been able to diagnose the patient’s condition to determine if the doctor failed to properly diagnose the patient within a reasonable amount of time.
In addition, experts can determine the progression of the patient’s condition and establish any injuries the patient suffered as a result of the delayed diagnosis. For instance, experts can establish how a patient would have recovered if the diagnosis had been made within a reasonable amount of time and what symptoms, illnesses, treatments, and other injuries could have been avoided if the diagnosis had been made in a timely fashion.
Evidence for a delayed diagnosis case includes medical records, expert reports, testimony from the patient, social media evidence, employment records, and testimony from those close to the patient. When establishing a delayed diagnosis case, you must be sure to preserve all relevant evidence, including social media posts, medical reports and correspondences, and any other relevant evidence.
If the evidence has deteriorated in quality over time, a delayed diagnosis lawyer can interview witnesses to establish sworn statements regarding any relevant evidence to use in a trial or other proceedings. An attorney will try and prove other doctors would have been able to diagnose the patient sooner through expert witnesses and by examining the patient’s medical records to establish a timeline to demonstrate when the diagnosis should have been made.
If you believe that you or a loved one has suffered harm because of a doctor’s failure to make a timely diagnosis, reach out to an experienced Louisville delayed diagnosis lawyer today. We can review the facts of your case and help you to understand your legal options. Schedule a consultation today.
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