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Diagnostic failures and medical malpractice

Pitt County doctors can't always pinpoint a medical problem immediately. Sometimes symptoms indicate several possible conditions. A thorough physical exam may require follow-up diagnostic tests or procedures to confirm what's wrong.

Medical malpractice cases are based upon negligence. A key point is whether a doctor behaved reasonably compared to the way other physicians in the same situation, would act. In other words, doctors must meet the patient care standards of their peers.

Patients can be injured when a medical professional takes too long to diagnose a condition or fails to detect a problem. Diagnostic delays can worsen a condition like cervical cancer. In the early stages, the patient may have no symptoms to indicate disease. When symptoms like painful intercourse or unusual vaginal bleeding appear, doctors may mistake them for other less serious conditions.

Undiagnosed cancers and other diseases can spread as physicians employ differential diagnostic techniques. Doctors use symptoms to attempt to determine which condition a patient is most likely to have. It can take time to differentiate between conditions with similar symptoms In some instances, time makes all the difference to a patient's well-being.

A doctor can be faulted if a diagnostic list doesn't include the patient's real condition. He or she also can be accused of negligence for considering a diagnosis but not following through to find out if that was the true cause of the patient's symptoms. Some doctors treat patients for conditions they don't have.

A mistreated medical condition injures a patient in two ways. The wrong treatment, such as pills, procedures or surgeries,, may cause unnecessary harm. Failure to diagnose and treat an actual problem also places the patient at risk of a worsened condition.

Seeking compensation for doctors' mistakes through legal claims takes careful preparation. An attorney with the Melvin Law Firm can assess a claim and help patients gather proof of medical malpractice.

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