When you aren’t feeling well, it can be a struggle just to get yourself to the doctor for care. You expect that the doctor will determine what is wrong with you, prescribe medication if necessary and send you on your way.
However, if the doctor does not diagnose you correctly at that visit and your health gets worse, you could be entitled to compensation for medical malpractice caused by a delayed diagnosis.
To prove that you were harmed by medical malpractice, you must demonstrate several elements. There must be a doctor-patient relationship and the doctor must have owed you a duty of care. The doctor must have breached the standard of care, meaning they did not provide treatment consistent with similar professionals in their field.
The doctor’s breach must have caused the harm, and you must have suffered damages, such as physical injuries, additional medical costs or emotional distress.
When the doctor does not diagnose your condition in a timely manner, your disease or condition can get worse. You may have fewer treatment options as well due to complications that could have been prevented.
A delayed diagnosis can affect cancer treatment, medications needed to cure an infection and it can worsen heart conditions, for example. It can happen for several reasons, including errors in testing, not understanding or interpreting symptoms correctly or miscommunications between medical staff.
If you file a medical malpractice claim, expert testimony may help to explain how the doctor’s delayed diagnosis caused you harm.