When it comes to a medical malpractice case, it is crucial to establish the exact nature of the offense. One of the central questions involved in determining malpractice is how a Missouri physician failed to uphold expected standards of duty to a patient, such as correctly diagnosing the condition of a patient. Some patients are misdiagnosed while others receive a delayed diagnosis. These two concepts, while they might seem similar, are not identical.
FindLaw explains that a misdiagnosis is when a doctor diagnoses a patient with a condition that the patient does not actually possess. This can be very harmful because the patient may receive treatment for a nonexistent condition, but instead of improving the health of the patient, the treatment actually makes it worse. Victims of misdiagnosis may also experience anxiety over being misdiagnosed, plus the misdiagnosis caused them to pay out money for a treatment they did not require.
A delayed diagnosis differs because a doctor does actually diagnose you with the condition you have. The problem is that the diagnosis may come when the condition or disorder has progressed to a difficult or dangerous stage, and it may require more expensive treatments to handle. It is possible your condition could have been treated more easily if you had known about it earlier.
Sometimes misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis intertwine. A patient may be wrongly diagnosed and then later on is diagnosed correctly, but in the meantime, the patient has suffered emotional distress and perhaps physical harm from an improper treatment. Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis may also result in a wrongful death, as a patient may learn about a fatal condition too late to treat it. In some cases, a delayed diagnosis may miss a health problem until a patient dies from an undiscovered ailment.
Incorrectly diagnosed patients or the survivors of a person who died as the result of an incorrect diagnosis may need the assistance of a medical malpractice attorney to help establish the foundation of their case. Since Missouri requires a person to file suit within two years of the malpractice, these questions should be resolved in a timely manner.