Friday, August 15, 2008

Medical Malpractice and Misdiagnoses

Misdiagnoses remain a major form of medical malpractice.

Medical malpractice comes in a number of forms. Most people, however, have a very narrow opinion of what constitutes medical malpractice. Generally, they will assume that malpractice is defined as a botched operation or an improperly performed procedure. While these are most definitely forms of medical malpractice, they are not the complete totality of all types of medical malpractice.

Actually, the most common forms of medical malpractice center on either a misdiagnosis or not making a diagnosis at all. In fact, such failures to diagnose conditions have even occurred with extremely serious diseases. As strange as it may sound is not uncommon for someone suffering from cancer to receive a completely inaccurate diagnosis.

In fact, there were even instances where lung cancer was not properly detected. Consider the following scenario: an individual enters an emergency room complaining of chest pains. The examining physicians may tell the patient the problem is minor chest congestion. In the days that follow, the pain does not go away. Even follow-up visits with a regular physician may yield the same diagnosis. Weeks go by and the pain never subsides. When the individual goes for a third opinion, the presence of lung cancer is finally discovered. Sadly, the cancer is now past the point of being treatable and the patient can not be helped.

When the doctor fails to diagnose cancer or any other serious condition, the doctor may be guilty of medical malpractice. This will be particularly true if the doctor did not follow through and perform all the required tests. Often, it is this lack of proper testing or examination that is the reason for most missed diagnoses. Needless to say, a physician who is guilty of such egregious behavior can be held liable in a civil suit. Yes, there will be instances that the doctor did all he or she could and the tests came up inconclusive. Ultimately, it will be the outcome of a medical malpractice suit which will arrive at the proper conclusion.

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