Overview of Indiana’s Law Concerning Failure to Diagnose
Delay in treatment due to failed diagnosis can have grave consequences.
When a physician fails to recognize symptoms of a disease or illness in your body, the result is a delay in treatment for that illness. Unfortunately, some of the most common undetected health issues are also some of the most dangerous. Stroke, heart attack and certain types of cancer are all serious medical issues that commonly go undiagnosed. Findling, Park, Conyers & Woody, P.C. provides compassionate counsel and fierce advocacy in medical negligence matters. Reasons physicians fail to recognize the correct illness or the presence of life-threatening problems include the following:
Communication breakdowns with other doctors.
Doctors with different specialty areas who work in different parts of a hospital are concerned with specific aspects of your health and often ask unrelated questions. The lab technician, radiologist, registered nurse and physician all acquire small subsets of your health information that if not fully communicated among all parties may impede a timely diagnosis.
Confusion across separate medical offices.
When patients are referred to medical offices outside of the physician’s general practice for specialized testing or care, the separate offices need to ensure that all paperwork, lab information and test results are copied and shared. If files are confused or withheld across offices, doctors are left to work with incomplete information about the patient’s health, which can result in medical malpractice.
Inconclusive or difficult-to-read test results.
Inaccurate test results are often responsible for a failure to diagnose. The equipment may be damaged, images may be blurred or the physician who reads the results may interpret them incorrectly. These errors can contribute to a misdiagnosis, and in some cases, a surgical error.
Symptoms that are subtle or mild in appearance.
Symptoms like fatigue, which progress slowly over time, or changes in growth rate that appear only subtly are difficult to detect and are easily overlooked as symptoms of illness.
Symptoms that may result from a range of health issues.
Symptoms of an impending heart attach can include back pain, indigestion and nausea, all of which are symptoms of a number of less-concerning illnesses, such as the flu.
What are my legal options when my doctor fails to diagnose my illness?
Failure to diagnose is a legal issue distinct from misdiagnosis with its own specific case requirements under Indiana malpractice law. However, the case requirements are similar for both. As with misdiagnosis, patients who wish to claim hospital negligence or file a failure to diagnose malpractice suit against a medical professional must prove that:
The physician was negligent in fulfilling patient care responsibilities.
The physician’s negligence resulted in injury to the patient that could have been prevented by competent job performance.
Because Indiana’s case requirements for a failure to diagnose claim are so strict and often difficult to prove, our established medical malpractice lawyers are relied on for assistance in determining the feasibility and strength of many such cases.
Were you seriously injured or disabled due to a failure to diagnose or a preventable delay in treatment?
Our weekday office hours are 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. We are conveniently located at the corner of Ohio and Pennsylvania across the street from the federal courthouse. We offer services on a contingency fee basis.