The standard of care is perhaps the most important component of the duty of care in a medical malpractice claim. As far as tests are concerned, the standard of care is usually a line between information overload and information insufficiency. Frequently, this fine line is subject to interpretation.
Information overload, which is sometimes called defensive medicine, is often an issue with younger doctors. These physicians sometimes order a vast array of tests even if the patient’s problem is rather straightforward. The test results often give conflicting information. Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly, there is so much data that there is a good chance the doctor may miss something.
Older doctors sometimes have the opposite problem. Rather than rely on the medical evidence to diagnose patients, they rely on their instincts. Therefore, they might not order necessary tests. Some doctors may fear that the insurance company will not pay for all the tests, and they will be financially responsible for them.
As mentioned, the standard of care is often difficult to determine. All doctors have their own opinion. Furthermore, the standard of care is sometimes different in a small minimalist clinic than at a huge hospital which has vast resources.
So, a New York personal injury attorney usually partners with a physician expert in these situations. This witness establishes the relevant standard of care in a particular case. New York law has a somewhat relaxed attitude toward experts, so it is easier for them to share their views with jurors.
Tests and Medical Malpractice
Medical misdiagnosis is the most common form of medical negligence. Largely based on inadequate test results, doctors either tell patients they are sick when they aren’t or don’t tell patients they are sick when they are. Some common examples include:
- Head Injuries: Although these wounds are very common in car crashes and other injury incidents, many doctors misdiagnose head injuries as shock from the accident or early-onset dementia. Since these victims do not get the treatment they need, their conditions worsen and become more difficult to treat.
- Cancer: This illness might have twice the general misdiagnosis rate. As far as many doctors are concerned, cancer is a genetic or lifestyle illness. So, they do not consider this condition if the patient does not fit a known profile. On a related note, many doctors misidentify the kind of cancer. If the patient’s cancer is aggressive, conservative treatment regimens normally don’t work.
- Heart Disease: From a misdiagnosis standpoint, these injuries share features of head injuries and cancer. Many heart disease patients do not experience signature symptoms. Therefore, doctors often dismiss their conditions as digestive problems or something equally mild. Furthermore, some doctors never consider heart disease if the patient has no apparent risk factors.
Other kinds of medical negligence claims include surgical errors, anesthesia mistakes, and birth injuries.
Damages in a medical misdiagnosis claim usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages are usually available as well. Jurors may award these damages if there is clear and convincing evidence that the defendant intentionally disregarded a known risk.
Medical tests are often misleading, and doctors often do not request them. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in New York, contact Marie Napoli. The sooner you reach out to us, the sooner we start fighting for you.