Healthcare providers do their best to treat their patients accurately and timely. However, patients may make a claim of medical malpractice for a delayed diagnosis. The patient must demonstrate several elements for a successful claim.
First, the patient must show that they had a doctor-patient relationship with you and that you did not meet the standard of care expected in the medical community. The patient must also show that your breach of the standard of care caused their harm and that they suffered actual harm or damages. For a delayed diagnosis, the patient would need to show that the delay caused their condition to get worse.
These conditions can be physical, such as the progression of a disease or may be emotional based on the patient’s claim of increased anxiety or stress because of the delay.
You may have several defenses available to challenge the patient’s medical malpractice claim. If you can show that there was a delay, but it did not cause or contribute to the patient’s harm, that may be a defense. Similarly, if you treated the patient in an emergency, the diagnosis may have been delayed because you were not their primary care provider and aware of all of their medical history.
Also, you may be able to show that the treatment you gave the patient was within the medical community’s standard of care, using expert witnesses to testify on your behalf.
In other situations, you may be able to argue that there was no doctor-patient relationship that obligated you to care for the patient.