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The difference between negligent misdiagnosis and a mistake


As advanced as medicine has gotten over recent years, many doctors and patients in the Camden area know that it is still sometimes a matter of guesswork. This is not to say that New Jersey doctors make guesses at random as to what ails a patient, but there is just a lot of uncertainty in the process that can mean a doctor is wrong in a diagnosis.

There is, however, a fine line between an honest and unavoidable mistake and a failure to diagnose or delayed diagnosis, which is in fact a form of medical malpractice. The difference depends heavily on the so-called "standard of care," which is a crucial concept in medical malpractice cases. Basically, if a reasonable doctor following the established custom would have caught and correctly diagnosed a patient's condition, then not doing so is medical negligence, and the patient is entitled to compensation for any injuries.

More specifically, a doctor who is making a diagnosis is often going to employ a technique called differentiating diagnoses. Since symptoms for different conditions are often similar, doctors will list all reasonable causes of the patient's symptoms, ranking them in order of how likely it is for that condition to be the cause of the patient's symptoms. The doctor is expected to then go down the list ruling out the possibilities through testing until the correct diagnosis becomes clear.

Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor does not include a condition on a list of possible diagnoses when the condition could explain the patient's symptoms. A doctor also may be accused of malpractice if the doctor does not properly vet out a condition that is on the list through appropriate testing.

Post Type: TOPICAL

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