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Pendergast Law Personal Injury Lawyers

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The Consequences of Failure to Diagnose in Seattle

On Behalf of | Oct 24, 2016 | Personal Injury

By Pendergast Law on October 24, 2016

The trust created between doctor and patient is essential to preserving our health and helping us to overcome illness and injury. We expect our doctors to professionally and effectively identify what is ailing us and to do everything in their power to cure or mitigate any disease, illness, condition, or injury we might have to deal with.


That’s why stories of medical malpractice can be particularly devastating, because not only do they represent an individual tragedy, but they cause us to fear that the same thing might happen to us. Unfortunately, statistics indicate very clearly that there is a high cost when it comes to medical malpractice, including financially, physically, and emotionally.

Medical malpractice can take many forms, whether its improper treatment, failure to monitor, or failure to warn. One of the more common and most frightening types of malpractice is the failure to diagnose, a delay in diagnosis, or a misdiagnosis. This can lead to late or mistreatment and, in the worst cases, fatal results.

Examples include when a doctor fails to order proper tests, makes an incorrect diagnosis, or fails to diagnose all together. When this happens, the patient can lose valuable time that is needed to properly treat an illness or disease or can lead down the wrong treatment path. For a serious disease such as cancer, an early diagnosis can be the difference between life and death.

Not all incorrect or failed diagnoses are considered malpractice. For a misdiagnosis to qualify as negligent, it must be proven that the medical practitioner failed to provide the type and level of care that a normal health care professional, with similar training and experience, would provide under similar circumstances in the same community.

The most common conditions that lead to a failure to diagnose include cancer (especially breast, lung, testicular, prostrate, cervical, and colorectal cancer), heart disease, appendicitis, infection, stroke, and aortic dissection. The cause of the failure could be negligence on the part of the doctor, inability to properly communicate between departments, misfiled or incorrectly recorded information, or a failure to provide the proper diagnosis in a timely manner.

Medical malpractices cases are usually complex and difficult to prove. Most hospitals and doctor’s offices have legal teams dedicated to protecting them from litigation, as well as insurance companies that will aggressively deny or settle any claims.

It’s imperative that if you or a loved one has been the victim of a failure to diagnose, that you have someone who you can trust that is well-versed in the legal issues involved, and will fight to make sure you receive the compensation that you deserve. The experienced Seattle failure to diagnose attorneys at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. have helped patients who have suffered from a failure to diagnose seek and obtain full compensation for their losses. Contact us today at 888-539-9211 to schedule a free consultation.