Failing to properly diagnose a serious injury or illness can, and often does, substantially affect the treatment of a patient. When a person is injured or sick, it is important for health professionals to ensure that the patient receives the best care available as soon as possible. Failure to diagnose an injury or illness can limit a person’s treatment options, it can allow a condition to dangerously progress, or it can make the condition worse leading to serious complications or possibly death.
Doctors and other healthcare professionals work incredibly long hours in high stress environments. In these situations, whether from fatigue or chaos, doctors, nurses, or other health care professionals may go through the motions of an examination too quickly, missing important symptoms or signs the patient may possess. This unfortunately becomes very common amidst the chaos of an emergency room.
A study evaluating claims involving missed diagnoses in emergency departments found that 39 percent of the missed diagnoses resulted in death of the patient and 48 percent caused serious harm to the patient. The common causes of these unfortunate results included:
- Failure to order proper tests
- Failure to administer a proper examination
- Failure to adequately collect a patient’s medical history
- Failure to interpret a medical test properly
- Failure to obtain proper consultation
- Lack of appropriate supervision
- Inadequate handoffs between employees
- Excessive workload
All of these factors have one thing in common: individuals missing a vital step or important detail because they are too rushed or too tired to notice.
The work of healthcare professionals is incredibly stressful and often hectic, and although making mistakes is part of human nature, when said mistakes have life altering consequences they cannot simply be excused as an accident.
Consequences Caused by Failure to Diagnose
In the best cases scenario a failure to diagnose a patient will have insignificant consequences or none at all, and a patient is able to recover and go on with his or her life normally. However, too often missed diagnoses can result in catastrophic injuries to a patient, forever changing the life of the patient and their family. Some common consequences of failure to diagnosis include:
- Loss of limb
- Limited treatment options
- Loss of vital organs
- Loss of bodily functions
- Unnecessary pain and suffering
- Prolonged treatment length
- Surgical complications
- Unnecessary surgery
- Premature death
One of the most serious and common missed diagnoses is cancer. Cancer is frequently seen as a worst-case scenario and because of this health care providers can sometimes overlook obvious signs of the disease or fail to order proper testing to rule out the disease. Failing to diagnosis cancer as early as possible can limit the treatment options of a patient as it allows the cancer to spread and grow. For example, it can result in a previously operable tumor becoming inoperable if doctors fail to recognize the symptoms in a timely fashion. The quicker cancer is found the quicker it can be treated giving the patient a better chance of survival or more time to enjoy his or her life.
As missed diagnoses are difficult to measure and keep track of, they often go unrecognized or unquestioned. This becomes even truer when dealing with a missed cancer diagnosis because in many cases the end result of death becomes unavoidable. If the cancer had been properly diagnosed earlier, the patient would have had a better chance of survival and more time to spend with family and friends
Rights of Chicago Medical Malpractice Victims
In Chicago, medical malpractice cases are difficult, and given the complicated nature of a missed diagnosis claim they become more complex. However, with the right attorneys at your side you may be able to receive the compensation you deserve.
The personal injury attorneys at Abels and Annes, P.C. have the qualifications and experience to assist you with your medical malpractice case. If you or a loved one have suffered because of a missed diagnoses or if the death of a loved one was caused by failure to diagnose contact Abels and Annes, P.C. today. We can be reached toll free at (855) LAW-CHICAGO (529-2442) or locally at (312) 924-7575 and we offer a free case consultation without obligation to all victims who call us. If you prefer, contact us online about your possible case. We are standing by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to speak with you about your rights and your legal options.
If your condition was not properly diagnosed by a medical professional and you suffered as a result, contact Abels & Annes, P.C. today toll free at (855) LAW-CHICAGO for a free case consultation.