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scottsdale • phoenix
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Failure to Diagnose

When you’re experiencing symptoms that cause you to schedule a visit to your doctor, you have every right to expect that he or she will review your medical history, listen carefully to your description of what you’re experiencing, order appropriate tests or imaging, and send you to a specialist when required. You trust that your doctor will understand the meaning of your symptoms, will consider every diagnosis that could be consistent with them, and will take the whatever steps are needed to either confirm or eliminate each possibility, until an accurate diagnosis is found. If your doctor gives you a clean bill of health, you should be able to feel confident that you are well and need do nothing further.

Although it is reasonable for you to expect a thorough workup of your symptoms leading to a correct diagnosis, your doctor may fall short of your expectation. If a doctor blows off your complaints, attributes them to something minor, or doesn’t appear to be focused on what you’re reporting, you could become a victim of a missed or incorrect diagnosis. If your doctor has failed to diagnose your condition properly and it worsens, progressing to a stage where it is more difficult to treat successfully, and your health is gravely damaged, you might have a claim against the doctor for medical malpractice. You can prove that the doctor was negligent and failed to deliver an appropriate standard of care with a Phoenix medical malpractice lawyer who specializes in failure to diagnose cases.

Common Diagnostic Errors

Failure to diagnose a particular disease may result from a doctor failing to diagnose a disease at all, or by making the wrong diagnosis, mistaking it for something else. Diagnostic errors that frequently occur from physician negligence include:

  • Heart attack misdiagnosed as indigestion, gallstones, anxiety, or muscle strain
  • Stroke misdiagnosed as vertigo
  • Appendicitis misdiagnosed as gastroenteritis
  • Pulmonary embolism misdiagnosed as high blood pressure or heart attack
  • Meningitis misdiagnosed as seasonal flu, neck muscle strain, migraine, or tension headache
  • Ovarian or uterine cancer misdiagnosed as endometriosis or fibroids
  • Colorectal cancer misdiagnosed as INS (irritable bowel syndrome)
  • Breast cancer misdiagnosed as polycystic breast disease

Is it Malpractice?

Medical malpractice has occurred if you can prove that professional negligence by a doctor, hospital, or other healthcare provider caused you or a family member to suffer injury or death, when the diagnosis or treatment received did not meet the standard of care recognized by the Arizona medical community. Standard of care (or standard of practice) means what a reasonably competent doctor in the same practice area would do under the same or similar circumstances for the same or similar patient.

Misdiagnosis cases are difficult to prove, and a diagnostic error is not always evidence of malpractice. These cases require an experienced Phoenix medical malpractice attorney who understands Arizona law as it pertains to medical malpractice and the standard of care expected by the state’s medical community.

Proving Malpractice in an Incorrect or Missed Diagnosis

To recover compensation for you, your attorney must prove:

  • That your doctor had a duty to provide you with the standard of care that would be expected of any reasonably competent physician in the same practice area or specialty
  • That your doctor fell short of that standard of care by failing to do everything a reasonably competent physician would know to do to in order to diagnose the problem correctly and promptly
  • That because of that failure or breach by your doctor, your health was significantly harmed and you suffered demonstrable damages
  • That your doctor’s failure to diagnose your problem correctly was the direct cause of the damage to your health
  • That your outcome would have been different if the problem had been diagnosed accurately and in a timely manner

If your doctor ordered all the appropriate tests and screenings but the results didn’t point to the proper diagnosis, you may not be able to prove malpractice. Also, if your doctor neglected to do something that should have been done, but you were not harmed, you will not have a case. If you didn’t mention certain symptoms, provide an accurate medical history, or honestly answer questions posed by your doctor, you will likely not have a case.

Medical Malpractice Representation in and around Phoenix

For the highest quality legal representation from and accredited attorney when you believe you have suffered damage to your health or when you’ve lost a loved one due to a diagnostic error, contact the Phoenix law firm of Knapp & Roberts to learn if you have a viable case to recover for your damages. We will work with you

  • To force the negligent doctor to take responsibility for the harm done.
  • To get you the money you deserve.

Call us today to protect your right to a recovery.

Let us tell your story

we care, and we can help. Contact us 480-991-7677 or fill out the form below

The personal injury attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona, at Knapp & Roberts have the compassion and trial lawyer skills to tell your story to a jury. We will get to know you and your family so that we can help the jury understand what has happened to you and your family and how it has changed your lives. Obtain the compensation necessary for the injuries and losses you have suffered.