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How are diagnosis errors and treatment errors proven?

Going to the doctor when you aren't feeling up to par is something that most people do without much thought. Many people place their full trust in doctors to listen to the presenting symptoms, do any diagnostic tests that are necessary, make a diagnosis and establish a treatment plan. While that is the normal order of things, there are some instances in which the doctor doesn't make the proper diagnosis. That can lead to medical complications for the patient.

How do I know if my doctor should be held liable for a failure to diagnose or a delayed diagnosis?

The key to determining if a doctor should be held liable for a failure to diagnose or a delayed diagnosis is to determine what another doctor would have done with the same information. When doctors are being trained, they are taught to use a method called differential diagnosis to come up with the diagnosis for the patient. In this method, the doctor lists the possible diagnosis based on the available information. If there are multiple causes for the symptoms, the doctor can then begin to rule out possibilities.

What if my doctor doesn't prescribe a suitable treatment?

There are cases in which a doctor might not prescribe a suitable treatment for the actual condition. This might occur if the doctor doesn't take symptoms seriously or if the doctor makes an incorrect diagnosis. Proving this would entail finding out what another doctor would do in the same situation.

Because failure to diagnose, delayed diagnoses and improper treatments can all lead to harm for the patient, anyone who is affected by these might opt to seek compensation for medical malpractice. Knowing the Pennsylvania laws might help you to determine if you have a strong case.

Source: FindLaw, "Failed/Erroneous Diagnosis and Treatment," accessed July 08, 2015

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