Delays in Diagnosing Illnesses
Just about all patients trust their doctors and take them at their word. This trust may cause them to not seek any follow-up treatment or get a second opinion, which can have devastating consequences if the doctor missed a diagnosis of a serious condition. Depending on the facts, a missed or late diagnosis from your doctor can constitute medical negligence. If you have been the victim of a delay in diagnosing an illness, or lost a loved one for this reason, call our office today to discuss your legal rights under Tennessee’s medical malpractice statute with one of our Memphis medical malpractice attorneys. NST is the largest plaintiff’s based personal injury firm based in Tennessee, with more than 30 attorneys and 100 staff members to assist you when you call. Our firm has trial experience in courts across Tennessee in the area of medical malpractice.Seeking Recovery from a Medical Provider for a Delayed Diagnosis
Medical malpractice actions are one of the more difficult claims for an injured party to assert. Most states, including Tennessee, have entire statutes setting forth the requirements that must be met for a medical malpractice lawsuit to be filed and to succeed. In the Volunteer State, the law is known as the Tennessee Health Care Liability Act. In general, a medical malpractice claimant must show a doctor-patient relationship existed, the doctor was negligent, and this negligence caused actual harm to the patient. Specifically, the plaintiff must establish through expert testimony:
- The recognized standard of care in the community and medical field
- The defendant fell below that standard
- The plaintiff suffered injuries as a result that would not otherwise have occurred
It is usually fairly simple to prove that the doctor-patient relationship existed and hence that the doctor owed a duty of care to the patient. The difficult part is proving that the doctor acted negligently which resulted in injury to the patient. There will be occasions where the doctor was negligent but fortunately no harm was done to the patient. There will also be occasions where the patient suffers harm, but it will not be due to any negligence or wrongdoing by the physician.
A common scenario in which a delay in diagnosing an illness can cause a serious injury or even death is with cancer patients. Cancer treatment options and survival rates will vary depending on what stage it is in at the time it is diagnosed. A delay in diagnosis for a long period of time can effectively be a death sentence, depending on the type of cancer and how quickly it grows and spreads.
Similar to a failure to diagnose, just because the doctor makes a late diagnosis does not automatically make him or her negligent. Tennessee’s medical malpractice laws require the patient to prove causation, which means that the delayed diagnosis caused that person to suffer harm that otherwise would not have taken place. This is often accomplished through expert testimony of a licensed physician or doctor. Our law firm has the resources to retain expert witnesses to testify on behalf of patients injured in Memphis and throughout the South. We can utilize our resources to establish liability and document the damages suffered by our client, which could include medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, reduction in quality of life, and permanent impairment. If the delayed diagnoses resulted in wrongful death, loss of consortium may be available.Discuss Your Medical Malpractice Claim with an Experienced Memphis Lawyer Today
Medical malpractice claims are fact-intensive. That is why it is important for you to contact an attorney with experience in these types of cases who can review your medical records and consult with medical experts as needed. Medical malpractice claims, like other injury claims, are subject to a statute of limitations that will vary from state to state so you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible after a delay in diagnosing an illness is discovered. Our personal injury attorneys have the knowledge, skill, and resources necessary to assist you in your fight against large hospitals, nursing homes, or other health care facilities. Call us toll-free now at 800-529-4004, complete our online form to set up a free consultation with one of our attorneys to learn why NST is the way to go. We also represent victims of nursing home abuse and assist people unable to work in recovering Social Security Disability.