When you're sick, you rely on doctors to properly treat you. With every job, there is a margin of error, but in the medical field, one mistake could end up seriously injuring or even killing someone. One of the most common problems in medicine is misdiagnoses, or, more specifically, failure to diagnose a condition. If you go to your doctor and they tell you nothing is wrong even though something is actually very wrong, you should talk to a lawyer about a possible medical malpractice lawsuit.
At first glance, it might seem like an excusable offense to fail to diagnose a medical condition. After all, everyone makes mistakes, and recommendations for treatment are highly subjective, right? Actually, doctors are supposed to be following a strict protocol in order to avoid missing potentially serious medical conditions. Many times, serious problems are missed because doctors are busy, tired, or in a hurry. It isn't hard to understand why a doctor would miss a very rare medical condition with no symptoms, but the vast majority of diagnosis problems could have been prevented if the doctor has followed the correct procedures. Unfortunately, that means very serious consequences for you as a patient.
One common and dangerous medical condition that doctors sometimes fail to diagnose is a stroke. Strokes occur when there is a lack of blood to the brain, and if they are not treated in time, the patient could experience irreversible damage or even death. Most strokes are ischemic, which means that there is an artery someone in the body (not necessarily in the brain) that is blocked. Clots, especially in the legs, are a common cause. By following procedures, a doctor can catch blood clots before they become a problem and treat you with blood thinners, but many doctors fail to diagnose the stroke in time to treat it with no lasting results.
In the movies, heart attacks come suddenly and often involve the patient gripping his or her heart and suddenly falling over. In real life, that is usually not the case. Although some heart attacks are sudden, many start slowly, with the pain building over time. When that happens, a patient could be sent home with a diagnosis of heartburn or the common flu, or they may be ignored in the emergency room as less important than other cases. Like a stroke, though, heart attacks are extremely dangerous. There's a reason people refer to things colloquially with the phrase "as serious as a heart attack." Heart attack symptoms include not just chest pain, but also nausea, anxiety, and shortness of breath. Doctors should follow procedure and request testing for a heart attack if a patient is experiencing any of these symptoms in conjunction with chest pain or arm pain. If your doctor did not, and you had a heart attack, you should talk to a lawyer about your rights in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Most people know that strokes and heart attacks are dangerous, but you may have never heard of another dangerous circulatory system condition that some doctors don't catch in time to effectively treat. Called dissecting aneurysms, or just "dissections" in some cases, this condition is a tear within the blood vessel itself, which causes the blood to flow between the layers of the vessel wall. The result is a pseudoaneurysm. Sometimes, these heal on their own, but they could also rupture, which is usually fatal. Symptoms of a dissecting aneurysm include shortness of breath, fainting, chest pains, and weakness.
Early detection is the best way to prevent major problems, so if your doctor failed to diagnose the condition, you should talk to a lawyer about his or her liability. We've been programmed to trust our doctors without question, and in most cases, that trust is well placed. Unfortunately, hurried work, fatigue, and other situations can cause a doctor to fail to diagnose a serious condition. When that happens, you need to explore your legal options to prevent it from happening again to someone else and to get the money you need to pay for treatment.