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Failure to Diagnose Scoliosis

Lawyers Assisting Clients in Baltimore

Doctors typically conduct routine screening tests on children to determine if they have any conditions or issues that should be addressed prior to adulthood. For example, they generally examine children before and during their growth spurts for signs of scoliosis. If scoliosis is diagnosed while a child is still growing, it usually can be treated. If a doctor fails to observe the signs of the condition, though, and it goes untested and undiagnosed, it can lead to pain, breathing difficulties, and other issues. If you suffered harm because of a doctor’s failure to diagnose scoliosis, you should consult an attorney to discuss what claims you may be able to assert. The dedicated Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers of Arfaa Law Group are proficient at proving negligent health care providers should be held accountable for the losses they cause, and if you hire us, we will set forth compelling arguments in favor of your recovery of damages.

Diagnosing Scoliosis

Scoliosis is a term that refers to an abnormal sideways curvature of the spine, usually in the shape of an S or C. Scoliosis typically occurs in children between the ages of ten and fifteen years old. Most instances of scoliosis are idiopathic, which means they have no known cause, but some are congenital or cause by neuromuscular disease.

Signs of scoliosis include uneven hips, chest pain, and shortness of breath. In many cases, though, a patient will not experience any symptoms until the condition becomes severe. Thus, doctors usually examine children for scoliosis during their yearly physical. The first level of testing is a visual examination in which the doctor looks at a child’s back while the child bends over while keeping his or her arms and legs straight. If a doctor observes abnormalities during the test, he or she will order an x-ray to obtain a definitive diagnosis. When doctors fail to diagnose patients with scoliosis, the condition can progress, which in some instances leads to breathing problems, nerve damage, and issues with the hips, back, neck, and shoulders.

Claims Arising Out of the Failure to Diagnose Scoliosis

People injured by a doctor’s failure to diagnose scoliosis can often recover damages via medical malpractice lawsuits. Generally, a plaintiff seeking compensation in such a case will assert a negligence claim against the defendant. In Maryland, to prove negligence in the context of medical treatment, a plaintiff must establish that the defendant had a duty to treat the plaintiff in accordance with the accepted standard of care, which is the care that a competent professional working in the same practice area as the defendant would offer in a similar situation.

The plaintiff must then show that the defendant departed from the standard. For example, if a reasonable doctor would order x-rays after observing signs of scoliosis in a patient and the defendant neglected to do so, it may constitute a breach of the standard. Finally, the plaintiff must demonstrate causation and actual damages. In other words, the plaintiff has to show that the defendant’s failure to diagnose scoliosis caused the plaintiff to suffer measurable harm. As such, even if the defendant failed to diagnose the plaintiff, the plaintiff cannot recover damages absent proof that the missed diagnosis led to adverse consequences. In most cases, a plaintiff will need to hire a medical expert to explain the applicable standard of care to the judge or jury and how the defendant’s actions or failure to act represent a deviation from the standard.

Meet With an Experienced Attorney in Baltimore

In most circumstances, scoliosis is treatable, but when a doctor fails to take the steps necessary to obtain an accurate diagnosis, it can lead to significant complications. If you were injured due to a doctor’s failure to diagnose scoliosis, you could be owed damages, and it is advisable to meet with a lawyer to discuss your options. The experienced attorneys of Arfaa Law Group can advise you of your potential claims and help you seek the best outcome possible under the facts of your case. We have an office in Baltimore, where we frequently help people seek compensation for medical malpractice. You can reach us at 410-889-1850 or through our online form to schedule a meeting.