According to the United States Institute of Medicine, an estimated 98,000 people die each year from preventable medical errors, making it the sixth leading cause of death in America. A health care service provider may be liable for medical malpractice if his or her diagnosis was missed, delayed or incorrect.

Missed Diagnosis

This type of diagnosis takes place when a doctor or other health care physician fails to diagnose a patient with a condition or disease that could have been reasonably discovered at a particular point in time. A missed diagnosis will likely have delayed treatment and, perhaps, worsened the patient's overall condition. In some cases, a patient may have died as a result of the failure to diagnose—and would have lived if he or she would have received the necessary treatment.

Delayed Diagnosis

In other cases, the health care provider does not entirely “miss” a particular diagnosis. However, the delay in correctly diagnosing an individual with a particular condition may lead to irreversible consequences. Failing to diagnose the patient at a reasonable time could lead to severe injuries, and sometimes, death. A common example is a patient who began chemotherapy too late for a treatable form of cancer because of a delayed diagnosis.

Incorrect Diagnosis

Lastly, some cases involve neither a missed or delayed diagnosis, but rather a wrong medical opinion regarding a person’s health condition.

An incorrect diagnosis can cause a person to suffer injuries, and in more serious cases, death, if he or she was treated for the wrong disease.

Pursuing a Negligence Claim

In order to pursue a negligence claim, one must allege four elements:

  • Duty
  • Breach
  • Causation
  • Injuries

Florida law requires that health care providers adhere to a level of care, skill, and treatment that—in light of all relevant surrounding circumstances—is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent similar providers. Accordingly, if a similar and reasonable provider could have correctly and promptly diagnosed the condition without error, then the provider in question may have breached this duty. After determining whether there was a duty and breach, one must discern if said breach was the proximate cause of the person’s injuries.

In the context of an erroneous diagnosis, determining whether the physician’s breach was the proximate cause of a patient's injuries can be determined by the following factors:

  • "But for" the diagnostic error, the plaintiff would have not suffered injury (or injuries to the extent that he or she did)
  • The presence of superseding events between the time of the diagnostic error(s) and the injuries suffered (the injuries were not a direct result of the flawed diagnosis)

A case only exists if you or a loved one has suffered some sort of injury. While these are the elements required for filing a negligence case, you should consult an attorney before making a decision about pursuing a claim.

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Contact a South Florida Diagnostic Error Lawyer

The Miami and Ft. Lauderdale diagnostic error attorneys of Brais Law Firm are familiar with this area of the law and are prepared to represent you and your claim against a physician, specialist, or other healthcare provider.

You don’t owe us any attorney fees unless we recover compensation in your case. See our Results page for more information about our settlements and verdicts. In order to conveniently reach our clients, our main office is located in Miami, Florida. Call our firm to schedule a free consultation, 888-238-5637, or reach us online.

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