Making a Proper Diagnosis is the First Step in Treating a Patient

Making a Proper Diagnosis is the First Step in Treating a Patient

Whether a patient is suffering from cancer, or has warning signs of an impending heart attack, or is suffering from an infection – doctors are trained to recognize illnesses and determine the appropriate protocol for treatment. When the delay in diagnosis is unreasonable, and the patient is harmed, this may be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. In some instances, the outcome may not be changed had the diagnosis been made earlier (such as in a delay in diagnosing a late-stage cancer). However, in others time is of the essence.

For example, a recent record setting settlement was just reached on behalf of a family following two hospitals' delays in diagnosing and treating a boy suffering from a bacterial infection. The boy had scraped his elbow and sought treatment at two separate hospitals for the infection. The first failed to provide anti-biotics because tests were inconclusive, and the second delayed treatment once the diagnosis had been made. As a result of the delays, the boy developed sepsis and toxic shock, requiring both his legs be amputated as well as his right hand and left fingers. The family and hospitals reached a $47.5 million settlement to provide lifetime care for the boy who was 4-years-old at the time of the incident. In this instance, the delay was 32—hours. However, had the boy been treated with anti-biotics when he was first admitted to the hospital, his legs and hands could have been saved, the family asserted.

For more information, or if you believe that you or a loved one suffered harm as the result of a delayed or missed diagnosis, please contact the experienced San Diego medical malpractice lawyers at Bostwick & Peterson, LLP for an immediate consultation.


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