Medical Malpractice is often about a doctor's failure to diagnose a condition. Failure to diagnose cancer, stroke, heart attack, cardiac problems, and a range of other health ailments can lead to severe consequences or death.
In New York medical malpractice law, it is crucial to establish two elements:
First, that the doctor departed from good and accepted medical practice by failing to diagnose the patient's medical condition.
Second, that this failure to diagnose was the cause (substantial factor) in bringing about the patient's injuries.
For example, a patient goes to the hospital complaining of a fall and severe wrist pain and the doctor bandages the wrist and sends the patient home diagnosing a sprain. The next day the pain gets worse and the patient goes to another hospital where an X-ray shows a fracture which needs surgery. Usually this would not be a medical malpractice case, because the patient most likely needed surgery on Day 1 and the patient received the needed surgery on Day 2 when the correct diagnosis was made. Therefore, there is no difference. The patient cannot prove that the doctor's failure to diagnose the fracture CAUSED any sort of injury or damage. Had the doctor correctly diagnosed the fracture, the result of the patient having a fracture which needed surgery would have been exactly the same. The plaintiff's attorney has to be able to show the jury at trial two different roads or paths that his client would have taken - one road had the doctor made a correct diagnosis and another much worse path that the client in reality did endure because of the doctor's mistake.
A good example of a strong medical malpractice failure to diagnose case would be a breast cancer scenario. If a yearly mammogram result suspects malignant findings and orders the treating physician to perform further testing such as magnification, spot compression, MLO projection views, and or sonogram, and the doctor neglects to do so. The patient, understanding everything to be fine, does nothing, and waits for her next 6 month or even worse, 1 year follow up appointment. At the next follow up, stage III cancer is found via biopsy. The patient now needs a mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation. This is usually a very strong malpractice case because an oncological expert can testify that had the cancer been found one year earlier, no surgery, no radiation, and no chemotherapy would have been needed. It could have been treated. Now that the cancer has been allowed to fester and grow for nearly one year, much more invasive measures are needed and the patient stands the risk of losing her life.
If you or a loved one suspects a doctor has failed to diagnose a medical condition which failure has caused an injury, please do call us for a free, detailed, and insightful consultation at (866) ATTY - LAW. We work with world renowned experts and our attorneys have a great deal of medical experience.
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