Failure to Diagnose Law



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What Laws Affect the Failure to Diagnose?

Failure to Diagnose Laws are usually considered a part of medical malpractice. Many medical malpractice cases grow out of a medical professional's failure to timely diagnose, or even misdiagnose, a medical condition, illness, or injury. Although occasionally harmless, a misdiagnoses or failure to timely diagnose a condition could lead to worsening of the condition or even death.

Elements

Unfortunately, although the doctor is typically the ultimate decision maker with regard to a patient's care, he or she is not always held liable for errors or failures to diagnose. Instead, patients must usually prove three things to prevail on these types of claims: (1) the existence of a doctor-patient relationship, (2) that the doctor was actually negligent, and (3) the doctor's negligent was the direct cause of additional harm or death to the patient (i.e., the harm was something other than whatever brought the patient to the doctor in the first place).

Errors in Diagnostic Tests

One of the primary bases for a doctor's defense is that something outside of his or her control lead to the incorrect diagnosis. This could legitimately be caused by inaccurate laboratory tests, unclear or damaged radiological films, incorrect information given to the doctor/tester by the patient, etc. Although the doctor might avoid liability in these instances, so long as the diagnostic error was not as a result of the patient's wrongdoing, another person (i.e., the one who administered the test) might be.

Expert Witnesses

Because of the highly technical nature of these types of claims, often it is necessary to retain an expert witness to discuss what should have happened as opposed to what did occur. Having the right expert witness can be essential, as the expert will not only have to identify what should have occurred, but convey to the judge and jury why this diagnosis should have been obvious and what missteps the doctor made in a manner that is easy to understand. You can find an expert in your area by visiting our sister site, HGExperts.com.

For more information about the laws affecting a failure to diagnose, please review the materials below. Additionally, you can find an attorney in your area who focuses his or her practice on medical malpractice by visiting our Law Firms page.

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Failure to Diagnose Law - US

  • ABA - Standing Committee on Medical Professional Liability

    The Standing Committee on Medical Professional Liability is devoted to preserving and protecting the legal rights and remedies of persons injured while obtaining medical treatment and care. The Committee monitors policies that promote protecting the public as consumers of medical and health care services at the federal level regarding medical liability.

  • AMA's Code of Medical Ethics

    The medical profession has long subscribed to a body of ethical statements developed primarily for the benefit of the patient. As a member of this profession, a physician must recognize responsibility to patients first and foremost, as well as to society, to other health professionals, and to self. The following Principles adopted by the American Medical Association are not laws, but standards of conduct which define the essentials of honorable behavior for the physician.

  • ATRA - Medical Liability Reform

    The lottery-like aspect of civil liability is nowhere more evident than in medical liability. Very few acts of medical negligence result in patient claims and that very few paid claims actually involve medical negligence. The traditional system no longer works. These non-notorious inequities and inefficiencies of the medical liability system negatively affect the cost and quality of health care as well as access to adequate health care. More important, the practice of "defensive medicine" as a means of reducing or avoiding tort liability is a major contributor to health care cost.

  • Failure to Diagnose - Definition

    Failure to diagnose refers to the failure of a medical professional to correctly diagnose a medical condition. Failure to diagnose, delayed diagnosis and other types of misdiagnosis are common causes of medical malpractice lawsuits; see misdiagnosis and medical malpractice.

Organizations Related to Failure to Diagnose Law

  • American Medical Association

    Physicians need an advocate in the nation’s capital. As the leading voice for America's physicians in Washington, D.C., the AMA is aggressively involved in advocacy efforts that are related to the most vital issues in medicine today. Here you can review the AMA's National Health Care Policy Agenda and further explore some of the AMA’s top priorities, such as expanding coverage for the uninsured and reforming the Medicare physician payment system in a way that accurately reflects rising practice costs.

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)

    The goals of the agency are: * to foster fundamental creative discoveries, innovative research strategies, and their applications as a basis for ultimately protecting and improving health; * to develop, maintain, and renew scientific human and physical resources that will ensure the Nation's capability to prevent disease; * to expand the knowledge base in medical and associated sciences in order to enhance the Nation's economic well-being and ensure a continued high return on the public investment in research; and * to exemplify and promote the highest level of scientific integrity, public accountability, and social responsibility in the conduct of science.

  • Patients’ Action Network

    The Patients’ Action Network will keep you updated on critical health care measures pending in the U.S. Congress, government agencies, your state legislature, and as reported in the media. We’ll let you know when bills are heading for a vote, or are in danger of being ignored. And we’ll ask you to help ensure lawmakers take appropriate action on these important issues.

Publications Related to Failure to Diagnose Law

  • Failure to Diagnose - No. 1 Allegation in Liability Lawsuits

    A physician's failure to diagnose tops the chart as the most common allegation in medical liability lawsuits, according to a February study that has prompted some risk management experts to warn physicians that defensive medicine is their best protection.

  • How Failure to Diagnose Cases are Settled or Awarded

    Most people place a great deal of trust in the abilities of their physicians, specialists, medical staff and medical facilities to timely and properly diagnose and treat their illnesses. Unfortunately, many patients are victimized when these trusted professionals fail to recognize symptoms and allow diseases or other medical conditions to invade their bodies.

  • UMHS - Medical Malpractice and Patient Safety

    Since 2004, the U-M Health System has been in the national spotlight for its innovative approach to medical errors, mishaps and near-misses -- and their potential legal consequences including malpractice suits. If you have reached this page after hearing or reading about our approach in the news media, welcome! We hope this page will be useful to you.

Articles on HG.org Related to Failure to Diagnose Law

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  • Common Types of Medical Malpractice
    Medical malpractice is when a healthcare professional breaches their duty of care to a patient, resulting in injury or death. Fortunately, these cases are fairly rare, but when they do occur the consequences can be devastating. Some people wonder what kinds of treatments might lead to medical malpractice. These are some of the most common types of medical malpractice.
  • What is Medical Malpractice
    When one visits a doctor, they usually expect to get better. But in a few cases, mistakes are made, and the patient ends up with a misdiagnosis, an improperly performed procedure, or a mistake with medication. These errors can result in not getting better, new injuries, or even death. This could be medical malpractice.
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    Each year medical misdiagnosis leads to thousands of unnecessary injuries and deaths. This article explains how a heart attack, stroke, cancer, or infection may be misdiagnosed, leading to serious injuries or death for the patient.
  • Equally Deadly: ICU Misdiagnosis and Breast Cancer
    An undiagnosed heart attack or stroke accounted for almost three of every four missed diagnoses that, had health care professionals correctly diagnosed the medical problem, could have saved the patient’s life.
  • Overview of Lyme Disease
    What exactly is Lyme disease? What causes it and how can it be treated? Continue reading to learn more about this common and serious condition. In the U.S., Lyme disease is the sixth most common notifiable disease. Although cases of Lyme disease can occur throughout the country, 96% of the cases occur in thirteen states in the upper Midwest and the northeast.
  • Overcrowded Emergency Departments Leading to Hospital Malpractice and Doctoral Malpractice
    Overcrowded emergency rooms have become a major problem with hospitals, resulting in an increase in medical negligence and medical malpractice. Overcrowding has become a serious problem in hospital emergency departments. This causes patients who need immediate medical help to sometimes wait hours for medical attention.
  • Kernicterus and Severe Jaundice in Newborns from Medical Malpractice
    Kernicterus is a neurological condition that happens to a newborn with severe jaundice. It involves a high level of bilirubin, a substance created from the breakdown by the liver of old red blood cells that leaves the blood and builds up in the brain tissues. When the bilirubin enters the brain tissues, it causes permanent brain damage to the infant.
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