A delayed diagnosis involves a situation where a patient seeks medical assistance for symptoms that they are experiencing, but the medical condition that is causing those symptoms is not diagnosed within a reasonable amount of time. Unfortunately, a delayed diagnosis usually results in a worsening of the condition, which may render easier or less invasive treatments less effective or may result in the patient’s condition becoming terminal and untreatable.
A delayed diagnosis may occur when a doctor overlooks certain symptoms being experienced by the patient or overlooks or prematurely dismisses the correct diagnosis during the differential diagnosis. A delayed diagnosis may also result from a doctor’s failure to fully evaluate a patient, including taking a full medical and family history, not ordering the right testing, or not consulting with or referring the patient to other specialists.
Is Delayed Diagnosis Automatically Malpractice?
However, a delayed diagnosis is not always caused by a doctor’s negligence. Medical malpractice only occurs when a doctor fails to render care to a patient in accordance with the applicable standard of care. While the specifics of the standard of care will vary from patient case to patient care, the standard of care is generally defined as the treatment decisions and actions that other healthcare providers of similar training and experience would undertake in identical circumstances.
Thus, a delayed diagnosis may not be considered malpractice when other doctors would have also failed to more promptly diagnose your medical condition. In addition, the law only considers malpractice to have occurred when you have suffered harm because of the delayed diagnosis. For example, while a medical condition may have been more quickly diagnosed by other healthcare professionals, the patient may not be considered to have been harmed by the delay if their condition would have still been terminal when timely diagnosed.
Delayed Diagnosis vs. Missed Diagnosis vs. Misdiagnosis
While often thought of together as delayed diagnosis, there are subtle differences between a delayed diagnosis, a missed diagnosis, and a misdiagnosis. These differences include:
- Delayed diagnosis: The patient’s condition is correctly diagnosed, although not as promptly as it should have been had the patient’s doctor acted correctly
- Missed diagnosis: A patient’s condition is not diagnosed
- Misdiagnosis: A patient’s condition is wrongly identified as a different medical condition, which may lead to the patient receiving treatment that does nothing for their actual condition or that may even further harm the patient
Recovering Compensation for a Delayed Diagnosis
If you have suffered a delayed diagnosis caused by your doctor’s negligence, you may be entitled to pursue a medical malpractice claim to recover financial compensation for your losses. This compensation may include money for:
- Medical expenses, including the increased cost of a longer or more intensive course of treatment when your condition becomes more advanced due to the delayed diagnosis
- Long-term care expenses, such as home health services, that are required when your medical condition has become more serious
- Loss of wages or income for the additional time you need to take off work to get treatment for a more advanced medical condition
- Loss of future earning capacity, if the delay in diagnosis and treatment resulted in you suffering permanent impairment
- Pain and suffering caused by your worsening medical condition or by more intensive treatments needed for your condition
Contact A Medical Malpractice Attorney for a Consultation About Your Delayed Diagnosis Case in New Jersey
Were you or a loved one injured due to medical malpractice in New Jersey? Then you need to talk to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible for guidance on how to proceed. The Haddonfield delayed diagnosis attorneys at The Law Offices of Andres & Berger P.C. are prepared to assist you with your legal claim. We represent victims of negligent surgeons, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists throughout New Jersey, including Pennsauken, Voorhees, Lindenwold, and Collingswood. Call us today at (856) 795-1444 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation. Our main office is located at 264 Kings Hwy. E., Haddonfield, NJ 08033.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.