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When is a misdiagnosis more than a mistake?

| Dec 15, 2017 | Medical Malpractice

Georgia doctors are entitled to a little bit of leeway when it comes to making a diagnosis. After all, medicine, despite all of society’s advances in technology, is still an art and, as such, still involves a lot of trial of error.

As such, doctors can sometimes ultimately be proven wrong in making a diagnosis yet still not have to worry about facing a medical malpractice action.

On the other hand, a failure to diagnose a disease promptly or correctly can spell the difference between a full recovery and an early death for a patient. Moreover, patients go to their doctors to get a correct, timely assessment of their medical condition so they can fix it. This is why patients are willing to pay so much for a doctor’s advice.

Generally speaking, if a doctor follows the establishes process for diagnosing a condition, the he or she will not have to worry about being found negligent. This process entails the doctor’s assessing a patient’s symptoms and then deciding what conditions could possibly be causing those symptoms.

The doctor is supposed to rank those conditions on the list in order of likelihood. He or she then goes through the conditions, one by one, performing tests until he or she can either rule out or confirm each condition. Eventually, the doctor should find the correct diagnosis using this process.

A doctor will only find himself or herself facing a medical malpractice case in two circumstances. First, if the patient’s condition does not make it on the doctor’s list at all, then the doctor may be found liable for negligence in a lawsuit and thus have to pay compensation if the mistake harmed the patient. Also, there might be negligence if a doctor has the correct condition on the list, but fails to perform enough tests to rule it out before passing over it in favor of other options.