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Failure to Diagnose

Failure to diagnose is the phrase used to describe a situation where a patient has been suffering with a set of symptoms that have either been misdiagnosed, i.e. an incorrect diagnosis has been made, or not diagnosed at all. 

Both result in a delay to the patient getting the correct treatment they need and can cause additional pain and suffering. 

The phrase ‘failure to diagnose’ can relate to any medical problem.  However, some of the more common examples relate to:

  • A failure to diagnose a fracture following an accident.  This can often result in a bone setting in a poor position, causing ongoing pain and discomfort.  Further orthopaedic surgery may be required and an extended period of rehabilitation will often follow
  • A failure to diagnose and treat a heart condition.  The implications of such a delay are obvious and often significant, both for the patient and their loved ones
  • A failure to diagnose and treat cancer .  Such a delay can be very serious and can have a significant impact on a patient’s life expectancy and on occasions their treatment options.  Any such delay will only add to the stress and anxiety a patient and their family are already experiencing.    

Legally, clinical negligence cases that involve a failure to diagnose a condition can be very complex.  This is mainly because it is necessary to ascertain how much worse a patient’s pain and suffering is as a result of the failure, to what it would have been had a proper diagnosis have been made at the outset.  Such a comparison relies entirely on specialist medical evidence and the interpretation of this evidence by an experienced clinical negligence solicitor.

Dutton Gregory has a specialist clinical negligence team who routinely investigate all manner of cases where there have been concerns about the medical professions ability to appropriately diagnose and treat a patient’s symptoms.  If you feel that you or a loved has been injured as a result of a failure to diagnose a condition then please get in contact and we will be more than happy to discuss this in more detail with you.