Oklahoma Failure to Diagnose – HIV Attorney
Medical providers have an obligation to use reasonable care when diagnosing and treating patients. Failure to do so is called medical malpractice. A large number of medical malpractice suits stem from a delayed diagnosis or failure to diagnose a disease like HIV. When a doctor’s failure to diagnose HIV leads to delayed treatment and progression to AIDS, a patient’s prognosis might become much worse. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a misdiagnosis, you may be able to collect compensation for damages – but what constitutes medical malpractice? During a free consultation Bryan & Terrill Law will review your situation and spend time answering all your questions.
What Is a Diagnostic Error?
A true diagnostic error becomes medical malpractice when a doctor commits negligence. It’s important to note that the law does not hold doctors accountable for all diagnostic errors, but only those cases that another doctor, with similar background and training, would have diagnosed correctly. In order to pursue a medical malpractice claim, all the following must apply:
- A doctor/patient relationship existed.
- The doctor committed negligence – in other words, did not perform a diagnosis in a reasonably competent manner.
- The doctor’s negligence led to actual harm to the patient – for example, a delay in HIV diagnosis may lead to the disease’s progression and the deterioration of the patient’s immune system.
What Makes a Doctor Negligent?
Reasonably skillful and competent doctors make diagnostic errors. Determining whether malpractice occurred involves looking at how the doctor made a “differential diagnosis.” This refers to a method used by doctors to identify the presence of a disease or condition. After a preliminary examination of the patient, the doctor will make a list of possible diagnoses in order of probability. They then delve further into the issue, eliminating possibilities as they progress. Ideally, they will be left with one option at the end of the investigation.
Failure to diagnose HIV requires that the patient prove that a doctor with similar training or experience would, under the same circumstances, have included HIV in the differential diagnosis and come to the conclusion that the patient had the disease.
The Dangers of Delayed HIV Diagnosis
Without proper intervention, HIV advances in stages that get worse over time. HIV takes a toll on the immune system and causes AIDS, which is deadly.
- The first stage of HIV, called acute HIV infection, begins 2 to 4 weeks after transmission. Patients may notice flu-like symptoms like headache, fever, and rash.
- The second stage is called chronic HIV or latency. The virus continues to develop, but at low levels. Patients may be asymptomatic, but can still transmit the disease to others.
- Finally, AIDS develops. In this last stage of infection, the body is unable to fight off simple infections. Without treatment, an individual with AIDS is unlikely to live more than 3 years.
Your Medical Malpractice Attorney
Failure to diagnose HIV can lead to serious and life-threatening consequences. If you or a loved one is struggling with HIV, and think your provider may have failed to diagnose it in a timely fashion, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact us for a free initial consultation today.