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A surgeon who leaves a sponge in a patient or an anesthesiologist who administers the wrong medication cause direct harm to a patient. Diagnosis is an important aspect of health care. While a person may experience harm regardless of whether a doctor becomes involved, improper diagnosis can indirectly harm the patient.
Martin + Fielding represents patients who have been harmed due to a failed diagnosis, missed diagnosis or delayed diagnosis. If you believe you are the victim of a diagnostic error, call our office in Oklahoma City at (405) 673-2377 for a free consultation with a lawyer.
These are situations in which medical professionals missing the signs and symptoms of a serious illness or other medical condition entirely. It also includes situations in which nurses or doctors dismiss your symptoms as being minor or unrelated to your pain.
Example: You go into the emergency department for a sprained ankle. You tell the nurse that you have chest pains. The nurse ignores your complaints or a doctor dismisses them and fails to order an EKG. You have a heart attack.
Example: Your child breaks his ribs in a football game. The doctor fails to diagnose a loose shard of bone. It becomes lodged in the soft tissue in his chest and causes internal bleeding.
Treating a patient for the wrong condition can cause significant damage. Not only does misdiagnosis cause the real injury or illness go untreated, but providing the wrong care could result in additional injury.
Example: Let's go back to the emergency department for your sprained ankle. This time the nurse and the doctor both acknowledge your complaints of chest pain. Instead of ordering an EKG, the doctor tells you that you have indigestion. The doctor gives you an antacid. You go home and have a heart attack later that night.
Example: Your doctor finds a lump in your kidney. You are told that the lump is malignant and that you have cancer of the kidney. You have a surgery to remove the kidney but are later told that the lump was actually a kidney stone.
Diagnosis is not always an "either/or" situation; either you are diagnosed or not. A doctor may cause indirect harm by failing to properly diagnose a condition in a timely manner. A delay could result in the condition worsening unnecessarily, resulting in permanent damage or a terminal diagnosis. At other times, a doctor's timely intervention could have slowed the development.
Example: You go to the doctor because you are exhibiting symptoms. Your doctor fails to recognize that they are symptoms of cancer. The doctor doesn't test for the cancer and fails to diagnose it for months. By the time the doctor does make the correct diagnosis, the cancer has progressed to an untreatable degree of severity.
Example: You are taken to the emergency department and cannot breathe properly. The staff is trained to open your airway with intubation. They fail to do so and you suffer a brain injury caused by oxygen deprivation.
If you or a loved one experienced harm because a medical professional failed to properly diagnose your injury or illness, call our office at (405) 241-4439 for a free consultation with an attorney. You may also tell us about what happened, and we will schedule a time to review your case for free.
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