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Misdiagnosis and treatment errors cause harm to patients

Medical malpractice can occur in many different forms. One of the most common medical mistakes involves the misdiagnosis of a patient condition, which leads to erroneous treatment. When a physician fails to diagnose a patient's illness, or incorrectly diagnoses them, the patient is the one who suffers. Some patients end up suffering severe medical complications that they would not have suffered had the doctor made an accurate and timely diagnosis.

Generally, in order to diagnose a patient, doctors establish what is called a "differential diagnosis." The doctor will create a list of likely diagnoses from most probable to least probable based on the patient's symptoms. The doctor's list can be called into question if the patient or patient's family decides to file a medical malpractice suit against them. The case will rest on whether a reasonably prudent physician would have the same potential diagnoses list as the doctor did, in similar circumstances. If the patient's physician failed to consider the patient's actual diagnosis or failed to take steps to rule it out, they may be liable for the patient's injuries.

Another common issue occurs when doctors ignore certain symptoms and fail to offer appropriate treatment options. Even doctors who properly diagnose their patients may suggest treatments or medication that do not help or make things worse. This may occur when a doctor suggests an unconventional, unproven treatment instead of sticking with a tried-and-true treatment.

If you have been misdiagnosed or given the wrong treatment by your physician, and have been harmed as a result, you may have the right to sue for medical malpractice. Contact a Maryland attorney for assistance.

Source: FindLaw, "Failed/Erroneous Diagnosis and Treatment," accessed on Oct. 9, 2017

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