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Failure to Conduct Diagnostic Testing

Baltimore Attorneys Representing People Harmed by Medical Malpractice

Many illnesses are invisible to the naked eye, but can cause grave harm. Thus, doctors routinely rely on diagnostic testing to determine the cause of a patient’s ailment or to identify an underlying condition so the risk of preventable harm may be managed. While many doctors regularly employ diagnostic tests, some doctors fail to order necessary tests at appropriate times, and their patients ultimately suffer significant losses as a result. If you were harmed by your physician’s failure to conduct diagnostic testing, you should speak to a lawyer regarding what claims you may be able to pursue in a civil lawsuit. The dedicated Baltimore medical malpractice attorneys of Arfaa Law Group proudly assist patients in seeking compensation for the injuries they sustained as a result of inadequate medical care.

When Doctors Fail to Order Necessary Tests

Diagnostic tests are frequently conducted as part of a preventative care plan. For example, doctors routinely conduct mammograms and colonoscopies in presumably healthy patients to screen for cancer or precancerous conditions that are more easily treatable at an earlier stage. When a doctor fails to order these tests and the cancer is allowed to metastasize, the tumors may be more dangerous or even impossible to safely remove. Doctors also use tests to diagnose patients suffering from acute conditions, such as chest pain or shortness of breath. A doctor may order the patient to undergo an angiogram, CT scan, MRI, or x-ray to determine the cause of the patient’s symptoms. When a doctor fails to conduct the appropriate tests, the doctor may fail to detect that the patient is suffering from a critical condition such as a myocardial infarction or pulmonary embolism, which can result in significant harm or death.

Pursuing Damages for Harm Caused by the Failure to Conduct Diagnostic Testing

Generally, a plaintiff alleging that he or she suffered harm due to inadequate medical care must prove that the defendant provided negligent care. First, the plaintiff must establish the standard of care. In Baltimore, Maryland law requires a health care practitioner to comply with the standard of care that a skilled professional in the same specialty would provide in a similar situation.

The plaintiff must then demonstrate that the defendant’s treatment of the plaintiff, or lack thereof, departed from the standard of care. For example, if the plaintiff can show that a competent professional would order an EKG when presented with a person with symptoms similar to those demonstrated by the plaintiff, but the defendant failed to order an EKG, it may constitute a breach of the standard. As most people do not possess independent knowledge of the standard of care that applies to a health care professional, the plaintiff in a medical malpractice case will call a medical expert to explain to the jury or judge both the standard of care, as well as how the medical treatment provided breached the standard.

After the plaintiff proves both the standard and a breach of the standard, he or she must show that the breach proximately caused his or her harm. In other words, it is not sufficient for a plaintiff to merely demonstrate that the defendant breached the standard of care. Instead, the plaintiff must show that the breach is the primary reason he or she suffered harm, and that he or she would not have been injured if the defendant did not breach the duty owed.

Meet with a Dedicated Maryland Lawyer

Doctors have a duty to provide patients with competent care, which includes conducting any necessary tests. If you suffered a missed diagnosis or delayed diagnosis due to your doctor’s failure to conduct diagnostic testing, you can meet with an attorney to discuss your harm. At Arfaa Law Group, we advocate aggressively on behalf of patients who were harmed by inadequate medical care. We routinely assist people in medical malpractice lawsuits in Baltimore. You can reach us at our office at 410-889-1850 or through our online form to schedule a conference.