Is A Delayed Diagnosis Medical Malpractice?
No medical professional is perfect, but at the same time, they must uphold a certain prevailing standard of care. A 2013 study in the Journal of Patient Safety estimates that almost 500,000 people die each year as a result of allegedly preventable harm to patients. One of the most common types of ‘preventable harm’ is delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis, where symptoms of a potentially life-threatening condition are not spotted in time to avoid injury. If you believe that you have been misdiagnosed, or that your diagnosis came too late, it may be a good idea to talk to an attorney.
A ‘Prevailing Standard Of Care’
As a general rule, the average person is taught that medical professionals know what they are doing, and if there is a disagreement, it is the medical professional who is in the right. In reality, doctors and nurses can and do make mistakes, simply because they are human – but they may also cut corners or choose to practice medicine in a way they know is negligent or reckless as well. Every Florida medical professional must act in accordance with the prevailing standard of medical care that exists in their area, for “reasonably prudent similar health care providers.”
Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis may seem like a relatively inconsequential mistake, especially if the misdiagnosis means that someone does not actually have a serious condition. However, there have been several Florida cases confirming that misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis does constitute malpractice, because it can still lead to tangible harm to the victim. Delayed diagnosis in particular means that a serious condition may not have been caught in time, closing the proverbial window to save a life.
If you believe that you have experienced a delayed diagnosis, time is of the essence, both for your medical care and for you to exercise your legal options. Unfortunately, in most cases, patients whose diagnoses are delayed (and who wind up subjected to more medical procedures that would not otherwise have been necessary) still wind up on the proverbial hook for their medical bills, so any kind of settlement or jury award can be a great help in dealing with those costs. The statute of limitations in medical malpractice cases is two years from the date of the alleged medical error.
In order to establish that malpractice occurred, you must be able to show that the doctor owed you a duty of care (which is generally agreed upon in Florida courts), and that their actions – failing to diagnose your illness or condition – breached that duty of care, leading to you suffering tangible harm. However, you should be aware that Florida law adds a number of obstacles for plaintiffs who want to file suit – for example, the affidavit of a medical expert attesting that the plaintiff has a genuine case must be submitted to the court before proceedings can truly begin.
Call A Winter Park Medical Malpractice Attorney
Doctors and nurses are human, but truly egregious errors like delayed diagnoses can cause so much harm to patients that they must be called out. If you believe you have experienced misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, it is important to contact a Winter Park medical malpractice attorney from the Hornsby Law Group as soon as possible, given that time is usually of the essence. Contact our office today via our website or on the phone at (407) 499-8887 for a free consultation.