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The lingering impact of a missed diagnosis

On Behalf of | Apr 10, 2024 | Medical Malpractice |

Patients have to rely on their physicians for several different types of assistance. They cannot undergo testing without a doctor’s order for an MRI or a lab culture. They cannot legally obtain most medications without a prescription.

Before they can access treatment, they first require an accurate diagnosis. People who see a doctor complaining of troubling symptoms expect that a doctor can help them determine the underlying cause of those symptoms. The diagnostic process involves either affirmatively establishing the presence of a condition or ruling out all other potential causes of someone’s symptoms.

Sadly, doctors sometimes fail to diagnose a patient, and that error can result in lingering consequences for a patient. How can a missed diagnosis impact someone’s health?

Via the progression of their condition

Quite a few maladies do not improve without modern medical support. Someone with an infection requires antiviral or antibiotic medication in many cases. An individual with cancer needs a timely diagnosis to undergo the right surgical procedure or begin radiation therapy before the cancer spreads to other body parts. Unfortunately, the failure to diagnose someone when they first seek out medical assistance might lead to the condition that they have worsening. Their prognosis could decline, and they may have fewer options for treatment.

Via unnecessary treatment

Some diagnostic failures result in doctors attempting to treat a patient’s symptoms instead of the illness causing them. They might recommend medications that have a host of side effects. Someone undergoing improper or unnecessary treatment could have an adverse reaction to those treatments or could damage their body. Patients may also attempt to self-medicate with over-the-counter medications. Too much reliance on certain over-the-counter pain medication, for example, could lead to damage to someone’s kidneys or liver.

The sad truth is that some people who do not receive an accurate diagnosis may incur lifelong consequences because of a doctor’s failings. They may need to take legal action by filing a medical malpractice claim. A successful medical malpractice lawsuit can compensate someone for increased treatment expenses, lost wages and other economic consequences of a doctor’s failure to properly diagnose them.