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Failure to Diagnose 

When medical professionals fail to accurately diagnose an illness, a patient may be deprived of the most beneficial methods of treatment. A failure to diagnose often means that the victims are frequently powerless to avoid the most adverse outcomes.

Fewer medical malpractice cases are as complicated as those involving a failure to diagnose. Attorneys must conduct extremely thorough investigations that involve extensive reviews of medical records and consultation with several experts.

Failure to Diagnose Lawyer in Brevard County Florida

Did your doctor fail to accurately diagnose your medical condition or did your loved one die because of a diagnosis error? The Law Offices of James B. Coulter represents clients on a contingency fee basis, which means we front all the costs of investigating and developing these types of malpractice cases.

We serve multiple communities in Central Florida, such as Lake Washington, Mims, Melbourne Beach, Viera, Satellite Beach, Indian Harbour Beach, Cocoa Beach, Titusville, Rockledge, and Palm Bay.

Call to receive a completely free initial consultation that will allow our attorney to evaluate and discuss your case. Call (321) 586-9944 today or send us an online message today.

Florida Failure to Diagnose Overview

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Why Failure to Diagnose is Medical Malpractice

Medical professionals can make many different kinds of mistakes that lead to incorrect diagnoses. Diagnosis errors typically result in one of three types of claims:

  • Delayed Diagnosis — A patient is harmed because a doctor failed to properly diagnose the illness in the most timely fashion.
  • Failure to Diagnose — A patient is harmed because a doctor failed to identify an illness or take the necessary steps to determine the medical condition.
  • Misdiagnosis — A patient is harmed because a doctor diagnosed him or her as having a different medical condition.

An injury caused by a diagnosis error must be proven by the same standards that generally apply to all medical malpractice cases. In order for a victim to hold a medical professional accountable, he or she will need to prove these four aspects of negligence:

  • Duty of Care — There needs to have been a doctor-patient relationship in which the patient has the expectation that doctor will act with reasonable skill and care to ensure the patient suffers no harm. Medical practitioners are not at fault for informing patients that they have cancer, but they can be held accountable for not informing them.
  • Breach of Duty — The doctor violates the duty of care when he or she fails to act as another medical practitioner would have acted in a similar situation. This aspect hinges on what the accepted standard of care was for a certain situation.
  • Injury Caused by Breach — A patient needs to have suffered an injury as a result of the diagnosis error, and he or she must prove that his or her injury was a direct result of the doctor’s breach of duty. The causation can either be direct or proximate.
  • Victim Suffered Damages — The patient will need to prove he or she suffered actual damages because of a doctor’s breach of duty. Damages may either be economic (objectively verifiable monetary harm such as lost wages or medical expenses) or noneconomic (subjective non-monetary harm such as pain and suffering or loss of consortium).

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Common Conditions in Failure to Diagnose Cases

Every diagnosis error case is different. While certain cases share the same medical conditions, there is frequently a multitude of additional factors with unique circumstances.

Medical diagnosis errors may lead to certain illnesses being discovered later on or other outcomes because of conditions not being properly diagnosed. Some of the most common medical issues involved in failure to diagnose lawsuits may involve, but are not limited to the following:

  • Anaphylaxis;
  • Appendicitis;
  • Cancer;
  • Diabetes;
  • Gastrointestinal tract infections;
  • Heart attack;
  • Infections;
  • Internal bleeding;
  • Kidney disease;
  • Meningitis;
  • Other allergic reactions;
  • Permanent disabilities;
  • Pulmonary embolism;
  • Stroke; or
  • Tuberculosis.

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Causes of Failure to Diagnose

In order for a physician to be liable in these types of cases, it needs to be proven that he or she acted negligently. When a patient suffers harm because of a diagnosis error, there may be any number of possible actions of failures by the doctor that can be used to prove a breach of duty.

Some of the most common reasons for a failure to diagnose include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Failure to interpret tests correctly;
  • Failure to examine medical history;
  • Failure to follow-up with patients;
  • Failure to listen to patients;
  • Failure to monitor and/or detect infections or conditions;
  • Failure to order appropriate tests;
  • Failure to order proper screenings and tests;
  • Failure to perform regular screenings;
  • Failure to recognize symptoms;
  • Failure to refer or delaying referral of patients to specialists;
  • Improper examinations;
  • Misdiagnosing tumors as benign;
  • Misinterpreting test results; or
  • Ordering improper tests.

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Florida Resources for Failure to Diagnose

Estate of Michelle Evette McCall v. United States of America — In 2003, then Florida Governor Jeb Bush signed a law that imposed caps on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases which varied depending on the numbers of claimants and the types of defendants in lawsuits. The family of 20-year-old Michelle McCall filed a lawsuit against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act after McCall bled to death following a cesarean section during the birth of her son at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. The family was awarded $2 million in noneconomic damages after trial ($500,000 for her son and $750,000 for each of her parents), but the total award was reduced to $1 million because of the law. In this 5-2 decision delivered on March 13, 2014, the Florida Supreme Court found the statutory damages cap to be unconstitutional because it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Florida Constitution.

Diagnostic Errors More Common, Costly And Harmful Than Treatment Mistakes — This April 23, 2013, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine press release discusses a study led by associate professor of neurology Dr. David E. Newman-Toker. He and his colleagues reviewed 25 years of medical malpractice claim payouts between 1986 and 2010 with diagnosis-related payments amounting to $38.8 billion in that time. They found that as many as 160,000 patients suffer permanent disabilities from misdiagnoses every year. The study was published the day before this press release in the international journal of healthcare improvement BMJ Quality & Safety.

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The Law Offices of James B. Coulter A Failure to Diagnose Lawyer in Brevard County

If you or your loved one have been the victim of a failure to diagnose, delayed diagnosis, or misdiagnosis, you could be entitled to compensation for the harm the diagnosis error caused. The Law Offices of James B. Coulter helps clients throughout Central Florida with all sorts of medical malpractice cases, including communities in Osceola County, Indian River County, Seminole County, Volusia County, Orange County, and Brevard County.

James Coulter is a personal injury attorney who has firsthand experience with the difficulty of dealing with insurance companies following an accident after he was injured in a commercial truck crash. He can provide an honest and complete evaluation of your case to help you understand your legal options when you call (321) 586-9944 or send us an online message.

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Law Offices of James B. Coulter
1402 Highway A1A, Ste A Satellite Beach , FL 32937
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