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Misdiagnosis common source of medical malpractice suits

People who suffer from illness or injury in Louisiana have to place their trust in doctors, nurses and other medical professionals every day. However, even the most experienced medical professional can make a mistake that leads to further harm of the patient. If this happens, the patient can file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the parties responsible for the mistake.

Many medical malpractice suits stem from misdiagnoses or failures to diagnose. In order for their suit to be successful, the patient must prove that the misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose caused injury or disease progression that would not have occurred with a proper and timely diagnosis.

Doctors are trained to put together a "differential diagnosis," or a list of possible diagnoses based on the patient's symptoms. The list is in order of most likely to least likely causes. In a medical malpractice suit, the doctor's list will be compared to that of a reasonable doctor in similar circumstances. If the doctor named in the suit did not put the actual diagnosis on his list, or failed to rule out the actual diagnosis with other tests, he could be held liable for medical negligence.

Mistakes relating to the diagnosis of a patient can be difficult to prove. The difficulty lies in proving that the patient's prognosis worsened as a result of the delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis. However, if the patient can prove this, it is likely that they will win their case. Winning a medical malpractice suit can mean financial compensation for the patient to help cover costly medical bills and other expenses.

Source: FindLaw, "Failed/Erroneous Diagnosis and Treatment," accessed on July 18, 2016

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