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Misdiagnosis may result in harm to the patient

Many doctors in Colorado treat patients appropriately, providing them with proper care. Occasionally, however, physicians make mistakes that might cause harm and financial distress to the patient. When that happens, it may be necessary to evaluate the doctor's diagnosis and treatment choices.

Misdiagnosis is a prominent reason patients file medical malpractice lawsuits. Physicians compile a differential diagnosis when they evaluate a patient. This compilation lists possible illnesses the doctor feels may be causing the patient's symptoms based on probability. To rule out a diagnosis, the doctor usually orders pertinent tests. Each element in the differential is based on what a prudent doctor might include and, as information is gathered, it may change. When a physician deviates from the standard of care by failing to include the correct diagnosis in the differential or does include it but fails to do appropriate testing, a malpractice suit based on misdiagnosis may proceed. If the patient's condition worsens, the doctor may be considered negligent.

Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis may result in harm to the patient, but proving that the misdiagnosis caused the problem may be complicated. A patient with undetected cancer might have metastasis by the time it is correctly diagnosed. Cancer that has spread from the original site is more difficult to treat, and overall patient response may be less than favorable. A medical expert, provided by the claimant, may give reasons why the doctor's misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose at the outset might have led to the cancer's spread.

An attorney may help a patient who believes the treatment they received hurt them by conferring with experts in the field as well as reviewing patient records. After negligence is established, the attorney may file a suit in civil court to recover damages such as medical bills, future health care expenses, and pain and suffering.

Source: Findlaw, "Failed/Erroneous Diagnosis and Treatment", September 04, 2014

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