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Is delayed diagnosis considered medical malpractice?

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2024 | Medical Malpractice

When you seek medical attention, you trust your doctor to identify any underlying illness. However, there are instances when a delayed diagnosis occurs. If a healthcare provider fails to identify a medical condition promptly, it can result in putting off treatment. Prolonged medical treatment can have dire repercussions. 

The dangers of delayed diagnosis 

A prompt diagnosis is crucial for effective treatment. When a medical condition goes undiagnosed, it can: 

  • Worsen the disease or medical condition: One of the most severe dangers is the unchecked progression of the disease or medical condition. For conditions like cancer, early detection is critical for successful treatment. A delayed diagnosis can allow a treatable condition to become severe. 
  • Reduce treatment options: Delayed diagnosis can lead to complications that might have been avoidable. Early intervention is often vital to successful treatment. A delay might limit treatment options or make them less effective. 
  • Increase treatment cost:  A: A delay often results in more intensive and expensive treatment once the condition is diagnosed. This can lead to significant financial burdens for the patient and their family. 

Delayed diagnosis can be physically and emotionally draining. Patients suffering from a delayed diagnosis can experience stress, anxiety and a loss of trust in the healthcare system. This emotional toll can be just as exhausting as the physical symptoms. 

Can I sue for medical malpractice? 

You may have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit if you believe a delayed diagnosis has caused harm. To sue for medical malpractice, certain criteria must be met: 

  • Doctor-patient relationship: You had a formal relationship with the medical professional who missed the diagnosis 
  • Breach of duty: The doctor failed to meet the standard of care expected from a medical professional in a similar situation 
  • Causation: The doctor’s negligence caused your injury or worsened your condition. 
  • Damages: You suffered harm due to the delayed diagnosis 

Georgia has a two-year statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits, with a few exceptions. Consulting with a legal professional with experience in medical malpractice may help you navigate these complexities and determine the best course of action.  

By understanding the dangers of delayed diagnosis and your legal rights, you can take informed steps to protect your health and seek proper compensation.