Failure to Diagnose May Produce Deadly Results States Cleveland Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Not getting a patient’s diagnosis right may result in long-term medical issues or death. Failure to diagnose is more common than many may think.
“Not too many people realize that the term ‘medical malpractice’ means that something the medical professional did was an ‘act of action or omission.’ Put another way, you need to know that what a doctor does wrong in their practice may be just as life-altering or deadly as what they do not do,” said Christopher Mellino. Mellino is a Cleveland medical malpractice lawyer of the Mellino Law Firm LLC, in Ohio.
While this may sound confusing, it is a fairly simple concept in theory, just not so simple to prove in a court of law. The major concern is that there are many times where the failure to diagnose happens, but the patient did not have any ill effects because of that error.
“Let’s say you go to your doctor with the flu, but the doctor does not diagnose that and sends you home. You do not know what you have, but the doctor said maybe it was a cold. Maybe it was and maybe it was not. In most cases like this, it will not make too much of a difference if you have a cold or have the flu – unless you are a senior and the difference would be crucial for proper treatment. In other words, some failure to diagnose scenarios do not hurt anyone,” Mellino said.
On the other side of the fence, there are some diseases that need to be properly diagnosed the first time out, because time is of the essence in treating them. Cancers that rapidly proliferate are one example. If the patient sees their doctor and outlines symptoms that sound like cancer and the doctor says they are fine, that individual may lose weeks or months before they go back to see the doctor again; lose weeks of months that could have been used to being the appropriate cancer treatment.
“If the patient has gone home, thinking they are fine, and waits until the symptoms get excruciatingly horrid, it may be too late to do anything, even if they go for a second opinion. It is early detection that promotes early treatment and ups the chances of survival for patients,” Mellino said. Failure to diagnose may cost that person his or her life.
Most often, the diseases that need to be rapidly diagnosed and treated are cancers, heart attacks, strokes and even appendicitis. If the doctor makes a mistake and does not diagnose or does not get the diagnosis right the first time, they need to be held accountable for their mistakes.”Action or inaction is causing a patient long-term problems or death, it makes no difference. They are held responsible,” Mellino said.