Recently, I was asked whether a person can bring a claim against their doctor for failing to diagnose them with chlamydia for four years. Here is my response:
When an experienced healthcare malpractice attorney evaluates a claim (such as the one described above), the evaluation is twofold.
First, the attorney must consider whether the failure to diagnose the patient with chlamydia for four years was a breach or deviation from the ordinary standard of care used by other healthcare practitioners in the same field. In other words, would a different doctor or healthcare professional have made the diagnoses in a more timely fashion? Based upon the patient’s symptoms as they were presented to the healthcare provider, would it have been reasonable to diagnose the patient with chlamydia promptly -rather than four years later?
If the answer to that question is “yes,” an experienced Illinois medical malpractice attorney would then move onto the second part of the evaluation, namely, did this failure to diagnose the chlamydia cause the patient to suffer damages?
In Illinois, it isn’t enough to prove at trial that a doctor breached a standard of care. The plaintiff must also prove that this breach caused him or her to suffer damages. By damages, I am referring to (1) medical bills and expenses; (2) pain and suffering; (3) disfigurement; (4) loss of income; and, sometimes, (5) emotional distress. You may also need to prove that the failure to diagnose chlamydia caused the patient to experience a decline in health (i.e. if it had been caught sooner – would a certain medical condition have been prevented such as the loss of fertility?).
“Failure to Diagnose” cases are extremely challenging to prosecute. If you believe that you have a failure to diagnose claim against a doctor or healthcare provider, contact one of our Illinois medical malpractice attorneys to perform a free consultation and evaluation. We can be reached at (847) 628-8305 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.