New York City Medical Malpractice Law Blog
Causes of Failure to Diagnose in Primary Care
A doctor’s failure to diagnose occurs when they are negligent or fail to take the necessary steps to determine the nature of your illness, which then causes you harm. The reason for this harm is because a doctor’s failure to diagnose can lead to incorrect or delayed treatment being administered or worse, no treatment is administered at all.
There are several factors that contribute to failure to diagnose within the primary healthcare system, with some being more prevalent than others. Such diagnostic errors include:
- Limited access to high-quality primary care: There are a limited number of healthcare facilities, and many people often can’t access them due to lack of money, remoteness, and travel constraints. It is impossible for doctors to diagnose you if they are unable to see you.
- Limited availability of healthcare professionals and specialists: There is a major lack of enough, competent healthcare professionals. This means that fewer patients can be seen and that you may be treated by healthcare professionals for conditions that they have limited training on. It is very likely that these professionals will fail to diagnose certain conditions.
- Poor teamwork: The inability to effectively work together results in errors being made and then not reported. There is a lack of learning and feedback which leads to further errors and failure to diagnose.
- Limited availability of diagnostic tests: Diagnostic tests are crucial for correctly diagnosing patients. If these tests are limited in scope, availability, or quality, then the likelihood of failing to diagnose increases.
- Poor communication: Little or no sharing of medical information is a foolproof way of ensuring a doctor’s failure to diagnose.
- Poor care coordination: Failed diagnoses occur as a result of delayed consultations, test results being lost, and a lack of the patient's health records documenting their care.
- Limited follow-up appointments: Diagnostic impressions are unable to evolve if follow-up appointments are reduced or canceled, which leads to an increased risk of failure to diagnose due to changes in your well-being and your symptoms being missed.
- Unaffordable care: Along with compromising a patient's other financial commitments, unaffordable care results in patients not seeking medical attention when they should and oftentimes seeking it too late.
- Poor training of healthcare professionals: A lot of healthcare professionals receive suboptimal training, especially in the area of clinical reasoning. Oftentimes certification and licensure requirements are deficient as well.
- Limited availability of health informatics resources: Resources such as internet access are often unavailable in remote areas. This means that medical information will need to be downloaded using subscription services which are often unaffordable.
- Human factors and cognitive issues: Failure to diagnose is more likely to occur in an environment whereby the systems and information are not organized well and are subject to distractions.
It is very important that you contact a qualified NYC medical malpractice attorney if you wish to pursue a failure to diagnose medical malpractice lawsuit. The law doesn’t hold doctors as legally responsible for all diagnostic errors, so you will need a lawyer who is familiar with the state laws to guide you in proving that a failure to diagnose occurred.
Your medical malpractice lawyer will assist you through the process and help you prove that:
- A doctor-patient relationship existed between you and your doctor
- Had your doctor diagnosed you properly, you would not have suffered your current injury
- Your doctor acted negligently, and that a more reasonable doctor, would have correctly diagnosed your medical problem based on your symptoms and treated you accordingly
If you believe that you or a family member may have experienced a failure to diagnose, please contact the medical malpractice lawyers of Rosenburg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff LLP in NYC today and speak to one of our medical malpractice attorneys.
When you are ready to talk, we are ready to listen. Call 1-866-516-5887 for a free, confidential consultation.