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When Is a Delayed Diagnosis Also Medical Malpractice?

By Burg Simpson
August 20, 2020
3 min read

As a patient, you rely on your physician to quickly figure out your diagnosis and to treat it. If, however, your physician fails to timely identify your diagnosis, it may negatively impact your health or even cause death. Indeed, studies report that diagnostic errors are the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.

What does “delayed diagnosis” mean? Is it the same as misdiagnosis?

“Delayed diagnosis” means that your physician eventually arrived at the correct diagnosis, but not as early as he or she should have. “Misdiagnosis” occurs when a physician arrives at an incorrect diagnosis. For more information on misdiagnosis, click here.

Why is a delayed diagnosis potentially harmful?

If you have a serious medical condition, timely treatment is important. For example, when discovered at an early stage, most types of cancer can be surgically removed or treated in some other fashion that allows the person to make a full recovery. On the other hand, the longer the cancer goes unnoticed, the chances of recovery and survival generally diminish because the cancer may grow and spread. Therefore, a delay in the diagnosis in cancer could have potentially devastating results.

Cancer is not the only condition where a delay in diagnosis can be detrimental. For example, swift diagnosis of a heart attack or stroke is crucial to achieving the best long-term outcomes for patients. Additionally, internal bleeding that is not timely recognized can result in death. According to studies, the most frequent diagnoses that are delayed are stroke, heart attack, sepsis (a blood infection), blood clots, meningitis, encephalitis, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and skin cancer.

Can I hold someone liable for a delayed diagnosis?

If the delay in the diagnosis was due to negligence and you were harmed as a result, then you can hold the negligent party liable. For more information on what constitutes medical negligence, click here. The negligent party is the one whose error caused the delayed diagnosis in the first place. For example, the radiologist who missed the cancer on an x-ray would likely be the negligent party and not the physician, unless the physician should have discovered the cancer earlier as well.

Burg Simpson’s Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Cincinnati are Here for You

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured by a delayed diagnosis, you must act fast. Most states have a very short time frame in which you can pursue a medical negligence case, thus it is critical that you contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. Burg Simpson’s medical malpractice lawyers in Cincinnati are experienced trial lawyers who are willing and able to fight for the justice you deserve. Call Burg Simpson’s Cincinnati medical malpractice lawyers today at 513-852-5600 or fill out our free case evaluation form to discuss your case with us.

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