Failure to Diagnose Lawyer in Kansas City
Failure to diagnose medical conditions is a serious issue that can have devastating consequences for patients and their families. When healthcare providers fail to identify a medical condition in a timely and accurate manner, it can result in delayed treatment, worsened medical conditions, and even fatalities. These cases often involve complex medical evidence and require the expertise of experienced attorneys who can navigate the legal complexities involved.
At Shamberg, Johnson & Bergman, CHTD, our attorneys have the experience and resources to investigate your claim and determine whether you have a viable claim for medical malpractice. If you do, we will aggressively pursue the maximum compensation you are owed.
What is a Failure to Diagnose Case?
Failure to diagnose, also known as a diagnostic error, occurs when a healthcare provider fails to correctly identify a patient's medical condition or disease in a timely manner, or provides an incorrect diagnosis altogether. This can have serious consequences for the patient, as delayed or incorrect diagnoses can lead to delayed treatment, unnecessary suffering, and potentially life-threatening complications.
There are several common causes of failure to diagnose claims, and these can involve various healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, radiologists, and pathologists.
Here are some of the common reasons why healthcare providers may fail to diagnose a patient:
- Misinterpretation of Diagnostic Tests: Healthcare providers may misinterpret the results of diagnostic tests such as X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, blood tests, or biopsies. This misinterpretation can lead to incorrect diagnoses or missed diagnoses.
- Delay in Diagnosis: Sometimes, healthcare providers may not diagnose a condition in a timely manner, leading to a delay in treatment. This delay can allow the disease or condition to progress and become more difficult to treat, resulting in harm to the patient.
- Failure to Order Appropriate Tests: Healthcare providers may fail to order necessary diagnostic tests, even when a patient presents with symptoms that warrant further investigation. This can result in missed opportunities for early diagnosis and treatment.
- Failure to Recognize Red Flags: Healthcare providers may overlook or dismiss important symptoms or warning signs that should have prompted further investigation. Failure to recognize these red flags can lead to misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis.
- Inadequate Patient History: Gathering a comprehensive patient medical history is crucial for accurate diagnosis. If healthcare providers do not take a thorough medical history or fail to ask the right questions, they may miss important information that could lead to a correct diagnosis.
- Communication Errors: Miscommunication among healthcare providers, such as incomplete handoffs during shift changes or failure to share critical patient information, can contribute to diagnostic errors.
- Lack of Follow-Up: After an initial evaluation, healthcare providers may fail to follow up with patients to monitor their condition or order additional tests as needed. This can result in missed opportunities for diagnosis.
- Failure to Consider Differential Diagnoses: Healthcare providers should consider a range of possible diagnoses (differential diagnoses) when evaluating a patient's symptoms. Focusing too narrowly on one diagnosis can lead to errors.
- Inadequate Training or Experience: Inexperienced or inadequately trained healthcare providers may struggle with complex diagnostic cases and may be more prone to errors.
- Overconfidence: Sometimes, healthcare providers may become overly confident in their diagnoses, leading them to dismiss alternative explanations or second opinions that could lead to a correct diagnosis.
- Bias: Cognitive biases, such as confirmation bias (favoring information that confirms preconceived notions) or anchoring bias (relying too heavily on the initial diagnosis), can lead to diagnostic errors.
- Systemic Factors: Issues within the healthcare system, such as time constraints, a high patient load, lack of access to necessary resources or specialists, and electronic health record (EHR) errors, can contribute to diagnostic failures.
How to Prove Medical Malpractice
To win a medical malpractice claim related to failure to diagnose, the plaintiff (the injured patient or their legal representative) typically needs to establish several key elements to demonstrate that medical negligence occurred. These elements may vary somewhat depending on the jurisdiction, but generally include:
- Duty of Care: The plaintiff must demonstrate that a doctor-patient relationship existed, establishing that the healthcare provider owed the patient a duty of care. This relationship typically arises when the healthcare provider agrees to treat the patient or when a formal doctor-patient relationship is established.
- Breach of the Standard of Care: The plaintiff must prove that the healthcare provider breached the standard of care owed to the patient. This means that the healthcare provider's actions or inactions fell below the accepted medical standard of care in the specific circumstances. In failure to diagnose cases, this often involves showing that another competent healthcare provider in a similar situation would have made a correct diagnosis or taken specific actions to investigate the patient's condition.
- Causation: The plaintiff must establish a causal connection between the healthcare provider's breach of the standard of care and the harm suffered by the patient. In other words, the plaintiff must show that the failure to diagnose directly led to or significantly contributed to the patient's injury or worsening of their medical condition.
- Harm or Damages: The plaintiff must provide evidence of actual harm or damages suffered as a result of the failure to diagnose. These damages may include physical pain, emotional suffering, additional medical expenses, lost wages, disability, or other losses that can be attributed to the misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis.
- Proximate Cause: The plaintiff must demonstrate that the harm suffered was a foreseeable consequence of the healthcare provider's breach of the standard of care. This means that the harm should not have been too remote or unrelated to the negligent act.
In most medical malpractice cases, expert medical testimony is required to establish both the standard of care and whether the defendant's actions constituted a breach of that standard. Expert witnesses are typically healthcare professionals who can provide insight into what a competent practitioner in the same field would have done under similar circumstances.
Why Choose Us?
With years of experience and a strong commitment to advocating for our clients, Shamberg, Johnson & Bergman, CHTD specializes in handling cases related to medical malpractice, including failure to diagnose claims. Our dedicated team of attorneys has successfully represented clients throughout Missouri, including Kansas City and the surrounding areas.
We are proficient negotiators and are often able to secure favorable settlements for our clients without the need for a protracted court battle. However, we are fully prepared to take your case to court if necessary and will vigorously advocate for you at trial.