In order for a medical malpractice case to exist when a doctor fails to diagnose an ailment, the patient must be seriously injured or killed. Thus, there are countless instances in which a doctor may fail to diagnose a disorder or disease but it is generally only very severe and fast moving ailments that lead to medical malpractice lawsuits. One of the most common types of failure to diagnose lawsuits happens when a doctor fails to diagnose cancer.
Fast moving cancers oftentimes require early detection and rapid treatment in order to be curable. If a doctor sees a patient who complains of certain signs and symptoms that are indicative of a certain type of cancer and he or she sends the patient home with a clean bill of health or with a diagnosis of a less-serious ailment, it may be weeks or months before the cancer is formally diagnosed. At this point, if the cancer has metastasized, it may be too late to begin treatment.
Any health care professional that is legally allowed to formally diagnose a patient can be sued for this form of medical malpractice. These medical professionals include:
- Nurse practitioners
Even if one of these medical professionals believes that cancer is not present, it is still his or her responsibility to continue with the appropriate testing until cancer can be ruled out completely.