Diagnosis Errors

Nationwide Cerebral Palsy Resource Network

When you discovered that you were pregnant, likely one of the first things that you did was to find a competent and compassionate doctor to assist you in obtaining the best possible medical care for you and your unborn child. Unfortunately, this does not always mean that you will ultimately receive the appropriate treatment that you and your baby deserve. What you may not be aware of is that diagnosis errors are one of the most common errors contributing to medical malpractice cases involving birth injury.

If you believe the attention of doctors, nurses, and other medical providers wasn't sufficiently focused on you and your baby, our firm can help. Please call Stern Law, PLLC at (800)462-5772 today for a free review of your case.

What types of diagnosis errors can impact your child?

Diagnosis errors can lead to debilitating birth injuries. In order to pursue a medical malpractice case based on diagnosis errors, you will need to show that your doctor made mistakes that violated the standard of medical care.

There are differences to note about each of the potential errors:

  • Failure to diagnose – This occurs when an obstetric specialist does not diagnose a problem at all.  The patient is told that she or her baby is completely fine when, in fact, a medical condition exists that then causes harm to her baby. This can occur early on during pregnancy or during the labor and delivery process;
  • Failure to properly document – A physician has the obligation to record not only the diagnosis, but the steps taken to reach that diagnosis. The process is critical in many diagnostic situations involving a differential diagnosis, which occurs after the doctor first hears the specifics of the patient’s symptoms. He or she then makes an initial ranking of potential diagnoses and asks a series of questions.  Specific tests are ordered to rule out the list of diagnostic possibilities and confirm the viability of the final diagnosis. Failing to record the final determination, testing ordered and performed, test results, and the process of elimination and confirmation may lead to improper treatment and harm to your child. It also can lead other treating medical professionals to make erroneous assumptions based on the missing data;
  • Harmful delay in diagnosis – This occurs in cases where the doctor eventually makes the correct diagnosis, but only after a delay that leads to harm to your baby. The delay in diagnosis may be due to a failure to realize a serious problem exists. Distractions may have prevented the doctor from giving you his full attention. Slow testing, delays in reviewing test results, or any other factor that caused an avoidable delay may have caused your baby’s birth injury;
  • Misdiagnosis – Also known as wrong diagnosis, misdiagnosis occurs when the doctor makes a completely erroneous determination and treats the wrong problem, while not treating the medical condition that actually exists;
  • Failure to diagnose complications or related diseases – The doctor may make the correct diagnosis of a medical condition in a timely manner, but fail to identify complicating factors that alter the impact of the condition and the nature of the treatment. This can also occur when two or more conditions present at the same time, which is a common occurrence. The medical practitioner may identify one of these problems, but fail to diagnose the related health risk, thereby leading to harm to you and your baby.

Failing to properly diagnose a condition requiring medical intervention in an appropriate timeframe can be fatal or cause severe injury to your child.

How do diagnosis errors occur?

There are many factors that contribute to diagnosis errors:

  • The doctor does not conduct a thorough and proper physical examination;
  • The doctor does not order the appropriate screening tests, particularly if the patient is at high-risk for certain conditions;
  • The doctor does not identify the signs of a particular condition;
  • The doctor does not listen to the patient’s symptoms and descriptions;
  • The doctor does not order the correct test when the symptoms indicate that test is the correct diagnostic tool;
  • The doctor erroneously interprets test results;
  • The doctor does not provide adequate follow-up with the patient, including a failure to order additional testing;
  • The doctor does not refer the patient to a necessary specialist in a timely manner.

You did everything right when you found out you were pregnant: you ate the right things; you took the correct supplements; you paid attention to your health; and carefully chose the right medical professionals to provide you and your child with exceptional obstetric care.  Somehow something went wrong and now a diagnosis error has caused tragic consequences for your child.

For Stern Law, PLLC, it is not about just winning lawsuits.  It is about doing what we can to help provide your child with an opportunity to achieve their fullest potential. Overall, medical malpractice such as diagnosis errors should never be tolerated, and that is why we have focused our legal practice on educating the public about the severity of the issue and working towards preventing these problems moving forward.

If you wish to learn more about your legal options, please call (800)462-5772 or complete an online contact form for assistance. Stern Law, PLLC is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer all of your questions, absolutely free.