Doctor in empty hospital

We trust that our doctors have our best interests in mind when diagnosing any medical conditions we have. However, this isn’t always the case; a doctor’s failure to diagnose a patient can lead to medical complications, potentially leading to death. If your doctor failed to diagnose your condition correctly and it worsened or caused you additional medical complications, you may have a medical malpractice claim

The experienced Long Island medical malpractice attorneys at Dell & Dean, PLLC work with victims of undiagnosed and misdiagnosed medical conditions to hold medical providers accountable for their negligence. We advocate for patients to receive compensation for the damages they’ve incurred. Contact Dell & Dean, PLLC today to schedule a free case evaluation and learn more about your legal options.

What Is a Failure to Diagnose Claim?

Failure to diagnose claims is one type of claim under the broader umbrella of medical malpractice claims. Medical malpractice lawsuits occur when a medical provider’s negligence causes a patient’s injuries. The injury may involve a patient’s medical condition worsening because of a medical professional’s failure to diagnose it. In other cases, patients may develop other medical conditions due to the doctor’s negligence. 

When doctors ignore patients’ complaints and symptoms, attribute them to a less serious condition, or accurately interpret diagnostic tests, a failure to diagnose a claim may arise. For example, when a doctor tells a patient he or she has a clean bill of health or that they have an incorrect medical condition, the patient can’t receive the treatment they need. In medical malpractice cases, doctors owe patients a duty of reasonable care. Doctors are required to provide adequate care to patients similar to the care another reasonable medical provider would provide in a similar situation. 

Examples of Medical Conditions Involved in Failure to Diagnose Cases

When we visit our doctors, we trust that they will be able to understand our symptoms and consider every diagnosis that could be consistent with them. Doctors should be able to take the necessary steps to confirm or eliminate every possible diagnosis in pursuit of an accurate diagnosis. 

In this area of medical malpractice, doctors may fail to recognize symptoms that indicate a severe condition. The medical provider’s failure to diagnose a potentially fatal medical condition or disease can cause significant suffering and even death. The following are typical examples of negligence in failure to diagnose cases:

  • Not referring a patient to a specialist when necessary
  • Misinterpretation of diagnostic tests, including X-rays, lab tests, CAT scans, and more
  • Not thoroughly investigating potential causes of a patient’s symptoms that are reported
  • Not thoroughly consulting with a patient about his or her symptoms and medical history
  • Missing an opportunity to screen for a specific medical condition
  • Not following up with a patient to communicate the results of the patient’s diagnostic test

Common Undiagnosed Medical Conditions

Some medical conditions are misdiagnosed or undiagnosed more often than others. When these medical conditions are serious, patients can experience their condition worsening significantly due to medical malpractice. 

A significant number of cases involve negligence when diagnosing various types of cancer. Early cancer diagnosis and other life-threatening medical conditions are critical for overcoming the disease. For example, when cancer spreads because the doctor failed to diagnose it correctly, it may become inoperable and result in the patient’s death. These types of medical conditions include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Heart attacks
  • Breast cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Melanoma
  • Asthma
  • Lymph node inflammation
  • Meningitis
  • Fetal distress
  • Staph infection
  • Stroke
  • Fractures

Proving Liability in Medical Malpractice Cases

Medical malpractice victims must prove their ability to recover compensation through an insurance settlement or personal injury lawsuit. In reality, proving liability in failure to diagnose cases can be challenging. The plaintiff needs to prove several elements to prove liability. Specifically, the plaintiff must prove that the doctor was negligent by showing that another doctor, acting reasonably, would have diagnosed the illness properly under similar circumstances. The sooner your attorney can begin investigating your case to gather evidence and work with medical and financial experts to prove your case, the better. 

Compensation Available in Failure to Diagnose Cases

When a medical condition worsens due to a medical professional’s negligence, the victim can incur thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional medical expenses. For example, when a doctor fails to diagnose melanoma, the melanoma could spread and require surgery, chemotherapy, and other invasive and costly treatments. Those who have suffered the consequences of a failed diagnosis, incorrect diagnosis, or delayed diagnosis can file a medical malpractice lawsuit to pursue the following types of damages:

  • Current and future medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Loss of future earning capacity due to disability
  • Permanent injuries
  • Disabilities
  • Pain and suffering 
  • Emotional distress

Wrongful Death Lawsuits for Medical Malpractice

When a doctor fails to diagnose a serious medical condition correctly, the condition may become so severe that the patient dies. If a negligent medical provider causes your loved one’s death, you may have the right to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. In addition to the damages available in a medical malpractice lawsuit, medical malpractice damages can also include funeral or burial expenses and loss of financial support for you and your family. 

Additionally, you may be able to pursue pain and suffering and loss of consortium damages for the companionship, comfort, and love you lost. While nothing can bring your loved one back, pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit can help you and your family move forward financially while holding the negligent medical provider accountable for your loved one’s death.

Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a Skilled Failure to Diagnose Long Island Attorney

If you suspect that your surgeon, doctor, or other healthcare provider failed to diagnose your medical condition correctly, you’ll benefit from speaking to an experienced attorney. Working with the skilled attorneys at Dell & Dean, PLLC will help you level the playing field and protect your rights. Contact Dell & Dean, PLLC today to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation.

Dell & Dean, PLLC handles failure to diagnose cases throughout Nassau County and Suffolk County on Long Island as well as the boroughs of New York City, and the surrounding areas.