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Proving that your doctor, dentist, or other health care provider failed to diagnose a medical condition is not easy. So what is a failure to diagnose? This medical malpractice occurs when a medical practitioner fails to render a correct diagnosis or misdiagnosis or makes an incorrect prognosis. The law recognizes the difficulty of proving a negative — that your doctor should have known about the condition but didn't — and requires both proof of negligence (which can be difficult) and proof that your situation was serious enough to warrant a diagnosis.
Courts also recognize that doctors are human and don't always make mistakes. If you get a second opinion from another doctor who says you don't have the condition or what you do have isn't serious, it's very hard to win a malpractice suit. The following are tips to prove failure to diagnose;
Be sure the diagnosis is accurate.
For a diagnosis to stand up in court, the diagnosis must be accurate. You cannot simply show that a physician failed to diagnose an illness; you must also show that the diagnosis was inaccurate. For example, if you have been diagnosed with cancer and then find out later that cancer has gone into remission on its own, this does not necessarily mean that the physician failed to diagnose your condition correctly.
Consult with another doctor
In many cases, you might need to get a second opinion before moving forward in your case. The physician who diagnosed your illness may have overlooked something, or perhaps another doctor will confirm the diagnosis. If you suspect that the physician failed to diagnose you, consult with another doctor properly.
Find out what terminology is used in your field of specialty.
For example, if you have been diagnosed with cancer, it is essential to know that specific terms are commonly used when discussing cancer. If you do not understand these terms, find out before consulting an expert.
Research how many people have been affected
Find out how many people correctly diagnosed with your same illness died from it each year. When collecting statistics, ask for complete numbers. Do not accept just percentages as facts. If 1% of all patients die from cancer, ask how many patients per year die from cancer if they are correctly diagnosed and treated for the illness. Seek out medical studies for complex numbers when possible.
Get a copy of your medical records.
These records might show that you complained about symptoms or signs that the doctor ignored. If this is the case, the jury will want to know why they weren't diagnosed.
Get expert medical evidence.
You can do this in two ways; firstly, by having an independent doctor review your medical records and look at your medical history. The second way is by getting an expert witness who can give evidence on your behalf that you would have been diagnosed if reasonable care had been taken.
Document everything with photos.
Photograph any scars or injuries you have, especially if they are in places that may not have been visible at the time of your doctor's evaluation. Be sure to capture pictures of all your medical equipment before you take it home. If you have had surgery and have drains, blood splatters, and other post-operative debris on sheets and pillows, take close-up photos of these items when you get home.