Doctors are not infallible, and one of the most common mistakes that health care practitioners in Oregon and around the country make is a diagnostic error. A doctor could fail to diagnose a patient, diagnose a patient with a condition that they do not have or take an unreasonably long time to correctly diagnose a patient. If any of these errors causes a patient harm, the injured patient could sue the doctor for medical malpractice.
A delayed diagnosis or a failure to diagnose could result in a patient's disease being allowed to progress. If an undiagnosed disease progresses faster than it would have with a timely diagnosis, a health care provider may be held liable for the patient's injuries. There are some cases where a disease would have progressed regardless of the timing of the diagnosis. In those cases, a doctor that failed to provide a correct diagnose may not be liable for the patient's injuries.
Patients can be injured by misdiagnoses in other ways besides disease progression. For example, patients who were misdiagnosed may have sustained injuries from prescription medications that they did not need. A doctor may also be held liable for a patient's injuries if the doctor provides a correct diagnosis but fails to properly treat the condition.
Testimony from medical experts is a key component for plaintiff's attorneys and their clients in medical malpractice lawsuits. In cases that usually involve complicated medical histories, medical experts can help the jury to understand how a doctor's failure to diagnose led to a patient's harm.