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When is a failure to diagnose considered medical malpractice?

When is a failure to diagnose considered medical malpractice?

Many times patients visit their doctors complaining of vague symptoms such as fatigue or “just not feeling quite right.” In some situations, these symptoms may be indications of underlying, potentially serious or life threatening conditions. When is a doctor’s failure to diagnose a health condition considered medical negligence or malpractice?

While each situation is different, some general guidelines exist concerning what constitutes medical negligence. First, it’s important that you actually have a doctor/patient relationship. For a viable claim of medical malpractice to exist, your relationship with the doctor must be more than, for example, casually asking an acquaintance who is a doctor - "what do you think about this?"

Additionally, the failure to diagnose a condition must be unreasonable, and fall below the standard of conduct expected from a typical doctor in that type of practice. This is generally established via medical experts.

Finally, the failure to diagnose and treat a condition must have led to harm. Diagnosing and prescribing treatment for a dangerous medical condition in a timely fashion is important to reduce or eliminate its effects on a patient’s health. However, unfortunately in some instances the delay may not have changed the outcome such as a short delay in diagnosing advanced stage cancer. To determine whether you have a claim for medical malpractice it is important to speak with a skilled San Francisco medical malpractice lawyer who can begin an investigation into all of the circumstances surrounding your claim.

For more information, please contact the dedicated San Francisco personal injury lawyers at Bostwick & Peterson, LLP for an immediate consultation.


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