A failure to diagnose a condition can be one of the most devastating types of medical malpractice faced by New Jersey patients and their families. The time lost in treatment for some diseases can lead to irreparable harm in certain cases.
In one such case, a Missouri clinic was ordered to pay $29 million to compensate a patient after failing to diagnose her rare genetic disorder, Wilson's Disease. If her disease had been diagnosed in a timely fashion, she could have received treatment with merely minor complications. However, she now faces permanent brain damage, will never walk again and must consume all meals through a feeding tube.
The patient's disorder is characterized by a buildup of copper in vital organs, especially the liver and the brain. When untreated, the condition can cause neurological disorders and brain damage. In this case, the patient presented with a range of symptoms and was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. The situation was made more egregious by the fact that the patient and her family insisted that she had a physical illness, but the hospital refused to even perform tests on the patient despite her worsening symptoms. Some of the award will go to pay for her future medical expenses, as she now must have 24-hour supervision and nursing care as a result of the clinic's medical malpractice.
A medical malpractice attorney can examine a situation in which a doctor or hospital failed to diagnose an illness and pursue compensation for the worsened medical condition that resulted. The attorney will need to demonstrate that the actions of the practitioner or facility constituted a failure to exhibit the requisite standard of care.