Misdiagnosis in the context of medical malpractice claims simply means that a doctor has failed to make a diagnosis that that doctor had a duty of care to be able to render under the circumstances and that failure is thus in breach of the applicable standard of care.
A misdiagnosis medical malpractice case in Toronto can have serious repercussions for the injured individual, and if someone has suffered from being misdiagnosed, they can pursue compensation for their damages following the incident. It is essential to work with a skilled malpractice lawyer during a case of misdiagnosis and they can work hard investigating the diagnostic standard of care necessary to prove your claim and obtain the most compensation possible for you.
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Common Forms of Misdiagnosis
One of the most common forms of misdiagnosis in Toronto medical malpractice cases is the misdiagnosis of severe intracranial abnormalities (i.e. abnormal activity under the skull) predictive of subsequent strokes as acute headaches. Toronto lawyers also see misdiagnosis in many cases where inadequate screening for various cancers results in the detection of cancer at a more advanced stage than it should have been found, resulting in a loss of opportunity to obtain the proper treatment in time to avert an adverse outcome.
As an oversimplified example of the standard of care leading to common forms of misdiagnosis, if someone walks into a doctor’s office with clear symptoms of a particular disease that a medical professional similarly situated under the circumstances should be able to diagnose, pursuant to the standard of care that the public has a right to expect. If the doctor does not diagnose it as such, then that would be an instance of misdiagnosis, of falling short of the standard of care applicable in that diagnostic context.
Toronto Misdiagnosis Lawyer Near Me (416) 364-2000
It is very important for the public to understand that misdiagnosis does not always amount to malpractice in Toronto. The distinguishing factors of misdiagnosis cases is the relation of the error to the applicable standard of care. So, for example, if a patient comes in with very obvious symptoms of a disease that, under the applicable standard of care, a doctor should be able to diagnose as such, a mistake in diagnosis may render the doctor liable for medical malpractice.
However, in more complex circumstances where the standard of care does not establish that a doctor should be making a particular diagnosis in relation to the circumstances, then misdiagnosis may not amount to medical malpractice. A doctor may have done all the correct screenings, may have done all the correct testing in an environment characterized by substantive ambiguity as to the key indicia of what the doctor would be looking for to make a proper diagnosis.
An error may be regarded as an acceptable mistake if it falls within a range of errors that is consistent with the proper standard of care and if that standard of care has been complied with in relation to the doctor’s diagnostic activity under the circumstances.
A doctor can reduce or prevent the occurrence of misdiagnosis resulting in a Toronto medical malpractice case in relation to any particular condition for which members of the public will be seeking their assistance by being as thorough as possible in three key areas, with respect to which their patients should also hold them to account:
- The interaction with the patient should canvass the patient’s subjective complaints in as much depth as possible.
- Screening and testing should be deployed inclusively to provide the broadest possible battery of relevant diagnostic activity.
- Scheduling consistent and comprehensive follow-up. Often, Toronto malpractice lawyers contacted by patients who have sought a diagnosis without receiving sufficient instructions for follow-up, only to find that the conditions with which they sought medical advice have actually manifested themselves much more perniciously than may have been initially apparent.
- Because there is no scheduled follow-up, because there is no structure for getting the patient back in front of the doctor, the patient may not have the opportunity to obtain appropriate treatment, and may ultimately suffer much more serious symptomology and pathogenesis (development of a disease/morbidity).
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Role of a Malpractice Lawyer
The process of a misdiagnosis case can be very complicated, especially because not all misdiagnosis amounts to medical malpractice. The main thing a lawyer will be looking into in a misdiagnosis medical malpractice case in Toronto is what the diagnostic standard of care.
Understanding the factual context in which the diagnosis or misdiagnosis was made is necessary to evaluating whether or not a viable medical malpractice claim exists. Substantiating the standard of care is the most important inquiry that can be made. Usually, the lawyer will have consulting experts retained to determine as best as can be determined whether or not the diagnostic error amounts to malpractice under the circumstances.