Atlanta Diagnosis Error Attorney
Diagnosis is the first step, and the most crucial step, in treating an illness or injury. A missed, delayed or wrong diagnosis can cause severe injury or death. A treatable condition can progress to become incurable or terminal, or a patient could be harmed by being treated for a disease he or she doesn’t have. Despite the critical importance of a timely, accurate diagnosis, diagnostic errors are the leading source of medical mistakes, accounting for over a quarter of all medical malpractice claims. It has even been reported that most people will undergo at least one diagnostic error during their lifetime.
Not only do diagnosis errors occur more frequently than other medical mistakes, but they also cause serious injury far out of proportion to their frequency. Diagnosis errors account for a third of all disabilities that result from medical malpractice and 44% of patient deaths, according to a 25-year study of medical malpractice in the US.
If your condition inexplicably worsened instead of improving after treatment, or if the doctor changed your diagnosis, you may be the victim of a diagnosis error that caused you serious harm. Diagnosis errors can be hard to uncover, but an experienced Atlanta diagnosis error attorney will work with medical experts to find out what happened to you and hold negligent doctors and hospitals accountable where appropriate. In Atlanta, call the Carroll Law Firm if you believe you may have been harmed by a mistake in diagnosis.
What is a “differential diagnosis”?
It is not uncommon that the symptoms a patient is experiencing could be caused by any one of several different diseases, illnesses or medical conditions. Medicine is a science and an art, and performing an accurate diagnosis takes skill as well as diligence. A differential diagnosis is simply the practice of looking at all the different conditions which may be indicated by the symptoms and performing the right tests to single out the actual cause.
In a busy practice, doctors and nurses may rush through the diagnostic process and choose the most likely diagnosis as they process patients through a crowded waiting room. Shockingly, some hospitals fail to order tests to keep costs down, even when such screening is critical to an accurate diagnosis.
A missed or delayed diagnosis can cause immense needless suffering. Among the most common illnesses where an early, accurate diagnosis can be life-saving are:
- Certain cancers, such as breast, lung, cervical, testicular and colon cancer
- Heart attack
- Pulmonary embolism
Other diseases that are most often entirely missed entirely until it is too late include:
- Ovarian cancer – This cancer is missed about half the time and often requires multiple screenings to catch.
- Lung cancer – A chest x-ray displays a mass that requires further testing, but radiologists and doctors don’t recognize it as a potential sign of cancer.
- Colon cancer – Doctors who fail to order this simple procedure when it is called for or who fail to perform the procedure appropriately have fallen below the acceptable standard of care
- Sepsis – This reaction of the body to infection can occur after surgery or any severe wound. Hospitals should be on the alert for signs of sepsis or septic shock and respond quickly to avoid permanent injury or death.
How can misdiagnosis be prevented?
It only takes the simplest steps for hospitals to cut down significantly on misdiagnosis errors. These include putting reporting systems and technologies into place so doctors and nurses can report mistakes and learn from them, and putting systems in place that encourage communication among health professionals, along with better training in the diagnostic process. Hospitals can and should be held liable for mistakes that occur under their purview that could have been prevented.
Unfortunately, it can be challenging to prove a case of medical malpractice linked to a misdiagnosis. The patient must be able to show that doctors and hospitals did not follow best practices and that the patient’s outcome would have been better with a more prompt or accurate diagnosis. Stacey Carroll is a skilled Atlanta medical malpractice attorney who knows how to build a strong case that holds negligent doctors and hospitals accountable for their mistakes.
Free Consultation on Diagnosis Errors in Atlanta
If you believe that you’ve been the victim of a missed, delayed or wrong diagnosis that caused you harm, call the Carroll Law Firm at 404-816-4555 for a free consultation with an experienced and successful Atlanta diagnosis error attorney.