Missouri patients rely on doctors to take the time to correctly diagnose their conditions quickly so that they may be treated and, hopefully, cured before an illness or injury becomes more serious — or even deadly. A misdiagnosis early in the process could also preclude the use of less invasive treatments, which may mean that a patient’s treatment options become more limited. More importantly, the patient could end up permanently disabled or dead due to a doctor’s error.
With so much technology now available to doctors, diagnosing a patient’s illness or other medical condition should not be difficult. Of course, this requires a physician to make use of the technological advances in diagnostics and then correctly interpret the results of any tests done. Moreover, once a condition is diagnosed, treatment may be beyond a physician’s expertise. A timely referral to the appropriate specialist can literally be the difference between life and death for some patients.
In some cases, a patient may exhibit warning signs of a serious condition that have not yet fully manifested. Understandably, careful monitoring of a patient under these circumstances would be prudent. However, if a doctor dismisses these signs and fails to follow up, the patient could suffer needlessly in the future.
If you believe that your condition — or the condition of a family member who died — was either incorrectly diagnosed, or not diagnosed at all, a medical malpractice claim for misdiagnosis may be appropriate, particularly if it caused delay in the receipt of critical treatment. Missouri doctors are required to meet a certain standard of care, and when they fail to live up to those requirements, you or a member of your family could be seriously or fatally harmed. An attorney can review your case and help determine what steps may be appropriate in the aftermath of such an error.