The correct diagnosis of your medical condition may save you a lot of money in medical costs by treating your disease or condition early. A right diagnosis may even save your life. However, if for some reason your doctor does not correctly diagnose your condition, or if your doctor takes too long to diagnose it properly, you might have a credible claim of medical malpractice.
When you pay your doctor a visit to learn more about whatever medical condition is troubling you, your doctor may conduct a differential diagnosis. This is one step in determining what your current medical problem is.
Defining a differential diagnosis
As explained by MedlinePlus, a doctor may consider a number of conditions that could be the cause of your current medical problem. The doctor will list these possible conditions or diseases and examine past tests of yours or conduct new tests to rule out conditions and to see if you need additional examination to find the true cause of your health problem.
Assessing a misdiagnosis
While coming up with a differential diagnosis, it is possible a doctor might not consider your correct condition as part of the diagnosis. According to FindLaw, the issue at hand when considering whether a doctor has misdiagnosed your condition is to ask whether a doctor, exercising reasonable judgment, would have considered your true condition as a possible cause of your health problems.
A court might find a doctor guilty of not properly diagnosing your condition if the doctor did not consider your true condition as part of the differential diagnosis. Alternatively, a court might find your doctor at fault for listing your condition as a possibility but not investigating it further with tests or other criteria. Still, determining a delayed diagnosis or a failure to diagnose may not be easy, as certain medical factors may complicate whether a doctor could reasonably have diagnosed your condition.