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Understanding legal remedies for failure to diagnose

Most of us place trust in the medical professionals that care for us when we are sick or injured. Suffering from a worsened condition because of a misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose or properly treat a medical condition can significantly harm victims and their families. Doctors, medical professionals, hospitals and hospital staff may all be held liable when a failure to diagnose or improper diagnosis, treatment or care results in a worsened condition and harm to the victim.

As is always true in circumstances of medical malpractice, the court looks at what a reasonably prudent doctor, in similar circumstances, would have done. If a reasonably prudent doctor would not have handled the situation the way a particular doctor did, and the circumstances resulted in a misdiagnosis, worsened condition and harm, the treating doctor may be considered negligent and may be responsible to compensate the victims for their damages.

In addition, when a victim is treated for the wrong condition, and harm results, the doctor or other treating medical professionals may be liable. This can lead to a worsening of the medical condition the victim is suffering from that is going untreated due to medical care that falls below the standard of care. Similarly, the victim may be correctly diagnosed but the treatment may be improper and administration of incorrect medication, for instance, may cause grave harm to victims.

Victims of medical malpractice may suffer physical, financial and emotion harm. As a result, depending on the circumstances, a claim for medical malpractice may be an option available to help them recover damages for the harm they have suffered. Medical patients and their families are sometimes placed in a vulnerable position so it is important that they are aware of the legal protections available to them if they have been harmed.

Source:, "Failed/Erroneous Diagnosis and Treatment," Accessed Nov. 10, 2016

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