A diagnostic error is defined as the failure to provide an accurate, prompt explanation of a patient’s health care concerns and communicate the medical condition to the patient. Even without a background in medicine, you certainly know that a proper diagnosis is essential before you can receive the treatment you need. Unfortunately, misdiagnosis is a common problem. The US Department of Health & Human Services reports that mistakes in diagnosing patients lead to 17% of medical errors in hospitals. Studies on autopsies also reveal that approximately 9 percent of all patients experienced a major diagnostic error that health care providers did not detect.
Based on these figures, researchers estimate that up to 80,000 individuals die, and hundreds of thousands suffer harm because of misdiagnosis every year. These claims fall under Florida medical negligence laws, so there are remedies for victims and their families. A Miami diagnostic errors attorney can assist with the legal process, but it is important to know how these mistakes happen.
Reasons Behind Diagnosis Mistakes
There are countless specific causes behind misdiagnosis events, but many of them boil down to the same general errors. For instance:
- Providers need a full view of the patient’s current condition, medical history, and many other details at the outset. Some fail to review a chart carefully before and during the first few minutes of the patient encounter.
- Busy physicians may rush through a physical examination, much of which involves interaction with the patient. A doctor may brush over some symptoms or neglect to ask questions, so not spending enough time with the patient makes diagnosis mistakes more likely.
- Many medical conditions require lab or imaging tests to confirm or eliminate a diagnosis. When a health care provider fails to order proper screenings, important details are missed.
- When physicians do order essential tests, they must also review and evaluate them properly. Oversights are especially problematic when a doctor does not detect a tumor.
Misdiagnosis May Constitute Medical Malpractice
Diagnosis errors are a type of error covered by Florida’s medical negligence statute, but it is necessary to meet the legal requirements set forth in the law. You must prove that the physician who treated you departed from the applicable standard of care, and this mistake was the direct cause of med mal injuries. The “standard of care” refers to how a hypothetic physician would have handled diagnosis, assuming the same level of training and skill.
If the hypothetical doctor would have issued the right diagnosis, your provider might be liable for medical negligence. In a successful claim, you may qualify to recover amounts for medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering, and many other losses.
Our Miami Diagnostic Errors Lawyers Will Guide You Through the Med Mal Process
If you or a loved one suffered harm because of misdiagnosis, contact Gerson & Schwartz, PA, to discuss your legal options. You can set up a no-cost case assessment at our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach, FL, by calling (305) 371-6000 or visiting our website.