04 Aug Delayed Diagnosis Claim: Bringing a Claim for a Delayed Diagnosis
If you become aware that you have a condition that you believe could have been diagnosed at an earlier stage and as a result, you have suffered harm, you may be able to make a delayed diagnosis compensation claim. A misdiagnosis or a delayed diagnosis is a common medical mistake that impacts the lives of patients and their families. Kent Carty handle many medical negligence claims for late diagnosis; these claims can range from failure to diagnose a fracture from an X-ray to the failure to diagnose cancer in the early stages.
What is meant by ‘delayed diagnosis’?
Delayed diagnoses occur when a patient seeks medical treatment for symptoms, and the condition causing those symptoms goes undiagnosed for an unreasonable amount of time. Often, this may result in the condition worsening into a serious illness or disease. A delayed diagnosis might be the result of certain symptoms being overlooked or dismissed by the physician, or when the physician fails to order follow-up testing to fully evaluate a patient.
Delayed vs. Missed vs. Wrong Diagnosis
Although similar, each kind of diagnostic error varies in some aspect. In each instance, however, the patient’s condition is left untreated and, so, worsens and progresses, sometimes until it is too late to be treated effectively and results in death. The key differences among a delayed, missed, or wrong diagnosis are:
- Delayed: symptoms are eventually correctly diagnosed, although not immediately.
- Missed: symptoms are never accurately diagnosed.
- Wrong: symptoms are incorrectly diagnosed and treated as another condition, although the actual condition may be discovered later.
Is Delayed / Missed / Wrong Diagnosis Negligent?
It’s not always the case that a delayed diagnosis is grounds for a medical negligence claim; however, it may amount to a significant legal claim and an entitlement to damages. To establish a claim, you need to prove that your doctor should have done more to evaluate and identify your condition. To establish a medical negligence claim for delayed diagnosis, you must show a doctor-patient relationship existed and that the doctor was negligent in providing the standard of medical care, which resulted in a delay in diagnosis and caused further harm to you.
Similar considerations apply to cases where there is a Missed Diagnosis or a Wrong Diagnosis.
Can I bring a claim for medical negligence due to a delayed diagnosis?
To bring a claim for medical negligence due to a delayed diagnosis, it will be necessary to provide evidence that:
- The standard of care you received fell below that of a competent physician of the same level, and;
- This negligence caused damage or injury.
What do you look for in a delayed diagnosis case to proceed?
If it is clear from your notes there has been a delay in diagnosis and that delay in diagnosis has affected your health, we will obtain a medical report from an expert who will be able to assess when it would have been reasonable for a doctor to diagnose your condition and the damage that has been caused as a result of the delay in diagnosis.
If the expert’s report confirms there was a delay and you have been harmed as a result of that delay, we will be able bring proceedings on your behalf for a claim of medical negligence.
Did the Delayed Diagnosis Lead to Harm?
Another component of a medical negligence claim is proving that the delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis caused actual harm to a patient. For example, if a patient’s cancer was not detected when it should have—and could have—been detected, and if the cancer spreads as a direct result, then negligence in the form of a delayed cancer diagnosis has occurred. Negligence only occurs when the patient suffers a degree of harm that he or she would not have suffered otherwise but for the act of negligence committed by the physician or other healthcare professional.
If a delayed diagnosis leads to injury or death, the medical professional(s) responsible can be held liable. These mistakes can result in a lifetime of additional medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, pain and suffering for your family, and other harms.
How Can We Help?
Walking into your doctor’s office and being hit with the news that you are suffering from a disease or illness that has progressed because of a lack of detection is terrifying. We have the expertise to guide you through the legal process. We frequently work with individuals and family members of individuals who have been caused further harm because the condition was not caught in time. We are sensitive to how devastating these mistakes are and to what they mean for a patient and their families. We cannot undo the mistakes that were made, but we can and do hold negligent parties accountable.
Carlagh Casey, Medical Negligence Solicitor