A 2009 article in The New York Times reported on something called the “process of care lapses,” which are situations where a patient received a diagnosis late in an illness. The obvious and most concerning example is cancer, such as when a lump in a breast is large and growing, and yet the patient with the apparent tumor delayed treatment. The article references a Harvard Medical School study that identified fault in process of care lapses is split — half to patients and half to doctors.
When a patient makes an error of judgment, it is unfortunate. But when a doctor fails to meet his or her duties, it can be malpractice. This is because we trust healthcare providers to do some basic, life-saving things:
- Identify illness or injury where it is present
- Treat the illness or injury as effectively as possible
- Help prevent a recurrence of that injury or illness
You should contact a medical malpractice lawyer if a misdiagnosis or failure to make a timely diagnosis is what happened to you or a family member. The consequences can be expensive and heartbreaking: extensive treatment, loss of function, perhaps an inability to continue earning a living, and premature death can all result. For a diagnosis error to be proven in court, the legal team working on behalf of the patient simply needs to demonstrate the following:
- A minimum standard of care was breached by your healthcare provider.
- Your illness or injury resulted or was made worse by that breach.
- You suffered losses as a result.
An experienced malpractice attorney will have a solid understanding of the medical situation and know how to obtain key medical records for use in pursuing fair compensation.
Dr. Michael M. Wilson is an attorney and a physician who earned his undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his legal and medical degrees from Georgetown University. He has focused in the area of medical malpractice for more than three decades and secured more than $100 million in settlements and verdicts on behalf of clients throughout the country. He is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and New York as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and the U.S. Supreme Court. He is listed in America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators.