Failure to test/ Failure to Respond to or Communicate Test Results
A patient seeking medical assistance is at their most vulnerable when they do not know what health issue they possess. There are times when patients go for a routine check-up where life threatening illnesses are caught in time for treatment to be effective. We enter a patient/physician relationship, trusting that the medical professional knows how to ascertain a correct diagnosis. It is their job to advocate for our health and well being, their professional oath says this is so.
Everyone has a right to understand if they have a disease, how their disease is progressing, and what treatment modalities are available to them. Physicians order diagnostic tests to determine the cause of the patient’s issues and the best course of treatment. These doctors have a professional obligation to test for ailments when there are symptoms of something wrong. If these test results are not communicated to patients, or are communicated later, it could limit the patient’s freedom to choose his or her own treatment, as well as pose potentially serious consequences for their health.
Three major areas of concern dominate in regards to medical testing:
- Not ordering the correct test- Patients see physicians when they have symptoms. They rely on the medical professional to order the appropriate test for the symptoms they are exhibiting. The patient is NOT the doctor and can only express “what’s wrong”, not why they are feeling these symptoms.
- Failure to test. Diseases like cancer can metastasize if they are not caught during the early stages. Time is of the essence in dealing with certain illnesses. When symptoms are generally ignored and life saving tests are not ordered, then this could be construed as a breach of appropriate medical practice. It is the job of the medical professional to ascertain why the patient is experiencing such symptoms. If they do not order the appropriate tests then a diagnosis and the appropriate treatment may not happen.
- Failure to respond to testing in a timely fashion. Some physicians see hundreds of patients every week ordering (or not ordering) a multitude of tests concerning those they have under their care. Blood work and pathology centers may send critical, time-sensitive information to a doctor. If the information is not communicated to the patient quickly and clearly, necessary treatment may be delayed, putting the patient at risk of the condition worsening. Unfortunately, this is one of the most common medical errors that physicians commit, and may be considered medical malpractice. If a disease gets worse over time or progresses rapidly, getting test results back quickly is extremely important.
If you or a loved one has experienced lack of appropriate testing, failure to communicate test results, or the victim of the wrong test, you may be entitled to financial compensation for the damages incurred by these mistakes. Call the Sweeney Law Firm and let our experts review the facts. You may have a medical malpractice case. If we decide to accept your case, we work on a contingency fee basis, meaning there is no fee for representation unless there is a settlement or recovery of funds made on your behalf.