The Cook & Tolley Blog

Negligence during the diagnostic process can harm patients

When an Athens resident goes to the doctor with a medical concern, they may expect their medical practitioner to evaluate them thoroughly and send them home with a comprehensive diagnosis. However, getting to a true and accurate diagnosis is not always easy or possible to do in a single visit. Often patients must undergo testing, evaluation, and other procedures for a doctor to fully understand the extent of their condition.

This is because different medical conditions with very different treatment paths can present with similar symptoms. Serious conditions like cancer can have early signs that resemble less aggressive ailments, but doctors cannot always assume that their patients have the most common and reasonable conditions that match their symptoms. As such, the differential diagnosis process is used by doctors and other medical professionals to root out the mysteries of patients’ health concerns.

The differential diagnosis process begins when a doctor reviews their patient’s medical history and speaks with their patient about their problems. They may do visual and tactile evaluations in their office, and if they suspect further complications that cannot be evaluated in office, they may send their patient to a lab or imaging center for more tests. As the doctor collects more information, they can begin to piece together the story of their patient’s medical need.

While this process may seem straightforward, it is an unfortunate truth that not all medical personnel take the time to properly diagnose their patients. Many skip steps, fail to communicate well, and miss important symptoms that could help their patients identify serious medical conditions early on. Negligence on the part of doctors can lead to worsened medical conditions for their patients, loss of treatment opportunities, and even death.

Medical negligence in the diagnostic process may arise to medical malpractice, an actionable tort that victims can pursue in court. Help from personal injury attorneys can be useful to victims of medical malpractice as they prepare to protect their rights and interests through litigation. This post offers no legal advice to its readers.

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