Physicians take an oath to care for their patients. They take an oath to protect them and to do everything within in their power to keep their patients alive and healthy. This complex oath (known as the Hippocratic Oath) requires doctors to understand medicine through and through, from side effects that might be an issue with a specific medicine to which symptoms could reveal something dangerous about a patient.
The Hippocratic Oath also means being able to perform adequate research when test results appear and symptoms are unclear. Physicians must know how to make quick and informed decisions, and they must always act on their instincts.
It takes a skilled physician to know how to diagnose a patient quickly, and an even more skilled one to know when more research is needed to make a diagnosis. Unfortunately, there are some doctors who have no business being in the medical field. They don’t take the time to listen to their patients, they ignore symptoms and they misdiagnose their patients.
It’s easy to misdiagnose a person when symptoms are presented that could indicate several different health issues. However, doctors have the tough job of narrowing down the smallest details to make a correct diagnosis.
When a doctor misdiagnoses a patient, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s medical malpractice. There are many illnesses and diseases that present the same symptoms, and it takes a great deal of testing and eliminating specifics before a correct diagnosis can be given. However, when your doctor fails to listen to your symptoms, put them together and test you correctly, he or she might come up with an inaccurate diagnosis.
This is called failure to diagnose, and it might be considered medical malpractice.
Defining Medical Malpractice
If you believe you have a claim that qualifies as medical malpractice, take it to a medical malpractice attorney. He or she will ask you several important questions. To prove that medical malpractice occurred, one or more of the following must have occurred:
- The doctor breached the legal duty of care he or she had to provide
- Your injuries are a direct result of the doctor breaching duty of care
- Your pre-existing medical condition was made worse or more serious because your doctor failed to diagnose it properly
Your doctor must be proven negligent in order for you to sue. This means he or she must have forgone a proper diagnosis by not asking you the right questions, not doing the proper research, ignoring your claims or not ordering the correct tests.
In short, your doctor must have behaved negligently for you to sue for medical malpractice.
This is the difficult part of any personal injury case. Your attorney will likely hire an expert doctor or physician to go over your medical records and to explain to a jury or judge what a doctor should do in the situation you were in. This medical professional’s testimony will include your symptoms, what a doctor should do and what a reasonable doctor should order, research or suggest during a patient meeting.
Is It Medical Malpractice?
A doctor has a job to find out what is wrong with you, and it’s usually more complex than diagnosing you when you walk into the office complaining of specific symptoms. In many instances, it means making a list of your symptoms, a list of possible illnesses and/or diseases you may be suffering from and then ordering tests to quickly eliminate and/or confirm the presence of one specific issue. A reasonable doctor will perform this duty, but a negligent doctor will not.
If you feel you’ve been mistreated or your doctor failed to diagnose you correctly, contact a malpractice attorney immediately. An attorney can discuss your legal rights, your medical rights and what to expect if you choose to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor.