A diagnostic error is one of the things that can lead to medical malpractice. This is when the doctor doesn't figure out exactly what is wrong with you even it is something they should have been able to do under the circumstances. Here are some of the common causes of diagnostic errors:
Not Ordering the Right Tests
Getting the correct medical diagnosis is usually a complicated and involving process. The doctor won't just look at you and guess your medical problem. In many cases, your doctor has to review your medical history, give you a physical examination, and order some tests to confirm or disapprove their theory of what is wrong with you. This means the doctor can easily fail to diagnose your ailment if they don't order the right tests. For example, tuberculosis (TB) detection requires either a skin test or blood test followed by other tests such as chest X-ray or sputum sample analysis. A doctor who doesn't order for those tests can easily miss your TB infection.
There are also cases where a treating doctor orders the right tests but then fails to interpret them properly. Consider an example of the Mantoux test for TB detection, where a sterile protein of TB-causing bacteria is injected under the skin and the reaction monitored and interpreted. The skin test typically produces a skin induration, and the size of the induration determines the conclusion to be made from the test. In this case, an incorrect interpretation of the induration size and its significance can easily lead to a wrong diagnosis.
Relying on Faulty Diagnostic Devices
There are also cases where a diagnostic error is made not because of the actions of the doctor, but because of the tools used in the diagnosis of the ailment. For example, using expired test chemicals, using malfunctioning X-ray machines, and using poorly calibrated microscopes can easily lead to wrong test results. In such cases, even a competent doctor is likely to produce a wrong diagnosis.
Relying on Results Involving Human Error
Lastly, your diagnosis may also be erroneous if a medical professional involved in the diagnosis, for example, a lab technician, makes a human error during the process. For example, a technician may make an error when they exclude a decimal point on a number reading or mixes up your test samples with those of another patient.
Note that you don't have a medical malpractice case just because the doctor didn't figure out your ailment; it has to be a condition that other similar doctors would have been able to properly diagnose. Consult a medical malpractice lawyer, such as Shaevitz Shaevitz & Kotzamanis, to assess your situation and advise you on the way forward.Share