Failure to Diagnose
Perhaps the most important part of a doctor's job is to properly diagnose a person's illness. One of the primary sources of malpractice is a medical professional's failure to figure out what is medically wrong with someone. Many times, lack of communication between the doctor and the patient contributes to the failed diagnosis. (See Silvia Gerges' Blog, Why Bedside Manners Matter: Do You Know How to Talk to Your Doctor?). It is important that a doctor ask the right questions and gets a good medical history from a patient. However, not every missed diagnosis is medical malpractice.
What is Malpractice. Doctors have to follow what is commonly referred to as the standard of care. When a doctor misses what doctors with his or her same credentials and experience would have been able to diagnose, then he or she has deviated from the standard of care and committed malpractice. So, whether a doctor's failure to diagnose a condition is actually malpractice is not as simple a question as one may think.
This is why the law in New Jersey requires that before a medical malpractice case can continue in a court of law, an expert doctor with the same board certification as the defendant doctor must sign an Affidavit of Merit certifying that based on his review of the case, he believes that the defendant doctor deviated from the standard of care.
Serious or Permanent Injuries from Failure to Diagnose. It is not enough for a doctor to have mis-diagnosed or failed to diagnose a condition for someone to have a successful malpractice claim. There are many times where doctors miss something but the patient does not get seriously injured. A successful medical malpractice case requires that not only there be a deviation from the standard of care but also that the deviation have caused a permanent or serious injury.
How we can help. At Lawrence & Gerges, we are experienced in litigating medical malpractice cases. We are equipped to find the appropriate expert doctors to review your case. We will do the research and give you an honest opinion about the strength of your case. Most importantly, we understand that someone's health is the most valuable thing they can have and nothing can compensate for losing one's health or even worse, their life. So, you can work on getting your life back together, and we will focus on winning your case. We know that litigation can be difficult, but we are committed to keeping you informed about your case and guiding you through the process. Our consultations are free and if we handle your case, we will not get paid unless and until you do.