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A patient’s rights after a missed medical diagnosis

When a Virginia patient goes to the doctor, he or she has the right to expect that the medical treatment received meets a certain standard. It can be devastating when the care provider acts negligently or makes a mistake, as this can often result in significant patient harm, accentuated pain and prolonged suffering. This is medical malpractice, and it is often grounds for a civil suit.

One of the most common reasons for medical malpractice is a missed diagnosis or erroneous diagnosis. This may happen when the doctor does not do adequate testing, does not listen to patient concerns or does not properly interpret the results of tests. If the patient suffers consequences that were avoidable with the right diagnosis and subsequent treatment, the doctor may be liable.

How can you know if you have a case?

It’s not always immediately apparent if what the patient is experiencing is a result of medical malpractice, such as a missed diagnosis. In fact, if you are dealing with continued medical problems or a worsening of your condition, it could be the result of an incorrect diagnosis. Some of the ways this could happen to you while under the care of a doctor include:

  • The doctor dismissed certain symptoms as minor or irrelevant to the overall problem.
  • The doctor did not listen to the concerns of the patient when he or she was explaining symptoms.
  • The doctor concluded that additional or more serious symptoms were only a worsening of an existing medical condition.

Overlooking even a minor problem can lead to serious medical consequences. Prompt and correct treatment is critical to stopping the damage caused by internal damage, disease progression or other conditions. Even a short delay in getting the right type of care can make the difference between life and death, a normal life or one marked by permanent damage. Misdiagnosis is a grave and often preventable medical error.

Are you a victim?

If you are the victim of medical malpractice or you suspect that your worsening medical condition was the result of an error made by your doctor, you could have grounds for a civil claim. An assessment of your case can reveal what options may be available to you and help you understand how to move forward with the appropriate steps. The aftermath of a misdiagnosis can be painful and complicated, but you do not have to walk through it alone.