There are a number of medical conditions that can be effectively treated
if they are caught early. This is one of the main reasons why preventative
medicine is so important, and why it can save people’s lives.
For example, if a woman is caught with breast cancer early on, her chances
of beating and surviving the cancer are much higher than if the disease
is discovered at a late stage.
Usually, patients visit their doctors for one of two reasons: 1) for a
standard health checkup, or 2) to diagnose them because something is wrong.
In either scenario, it’s critically important that the doctor does
their job properly.
The doctor must ask the right questions, order the necessary and relevant
tests, and refer the patient to a specialist when appropriate.
Sometimes a busy or careless doctor will “play down” the patient’s
concerns. Or, they will fail to make an accurate assessment of the patient’s
health. For example, let’s say a woman was experiencing the following
symptoms, so she decided to see her doctor. She complained of these symptoms,
and she was getting concerned:
- A lump inside her breast
- Swollen breasts
- Her breasts changed shape
- A new, persistent pain on one part of her breast
While these are not necessarily telltale signs of breast cancer,
they could be. If the woman’s doctor merely dismissed these warning signs as normal
hormonal changes and failed to consider breast cancer, this simple mistake
could lead to a preventable death.
When it comes to any form of cancer, it’s much better to catch it
in the early stages when it can still be treated. If a doctor does not
diagnose a disease, such as cancer in a timely manner, the disease can
spread throughout the body to the point that the patient’s life
cannot be saved.
Understanding Delayed Diagnoses
When people think of
medical malpractice, they often think of surgical errors where a surgeon accidentally cuts
the wrong organ, or where a doctor causes paralysis during back surgery.
But, a lot of people don’t realize that many medical malpractice
cases are based on a
delayed diagnoses, meaning, the diagnoses was made too late.
With a delayed diagnoses case, the doctor did not cause the medical condition
or disease. However, if the doctor would have caught it earlier, and when
they had the chance, the patient would have had a better outcome.
Often, delayed diagnoses cases result in tragic, preventable deaths, especially
in regards to cancer and heart disease. In order to have grounds for a
delayed diagnoses case, the plaintiff must prove:
- A doctor-patient relationship existed
- The doctor was negligent
- The doctor’s negligence directly resulted in patient injury
Often, delayed diagnoses cases are filed by surviving family members after
their loved one passed away in what could have been a preventable death,
but they can be filed by the patient as well.
If you, or a loved one has suffered because a doctor failed to diagnose
a condition in a timely manner, we urge you to
contact our firm to speak with a
Columbia medical malpractice attorney.