Patients deserve a health care climate where they can be reasonably certain that a doctor will catch their obvious issues. Unfortunately for many, the failure to diagnose cancer and other conditions remains a leading form of malpractice in both California and abroad. That was the conclusion of one study that surveyed thousands of doctors who had been named in medical malpractice lawsuits. Misdiagnosis made up almost four in every 10 medical malpractice claims.
The failure to diagnose a serious disease can lead to a worsened condition, and in many cases, it can lead to death. Especially with cancer, catching the disease early gives patients more options and a better chance of survival. Delayed treatment can be costly, and this has led many doctors to favor a form of defensive medicine according to the study. Instead of taking their chances with a malpractice suit, they are performing as many tests as possible.
Putting the report into practical terms, it is easy to see how patients might be alarmed. Despite their fears, many doctors still miss obvious issues, and these delays have consequences. It is often not through malfeasance, either. These doctors are unintentionally failing in their duty, and people in California are paying the price with their health.
When a delayed diagnosis causes problems, a patient can turn to the legal system for redress. Doctors have a duty to perform their jobs well, and the failure to diagnose a condition often renders these physicians both negligent and liable for the resulting damages. In such cases, patients have rights to pursue medical malpractice lawsuits.
Source: PhysBizTech, “Defensive medicine far from impenetrable,” Paul Cerrato, Aug. 30, 2013274