Differential Diagnosis and Military Medical Malpractice
Differential diagnosis is the systematic comparison between several causes of illness that produce similar symptoms. Through differential diagnosis, physicians form a hypothesis that can be tested with relevant medical examination and testing. The results may either confirm or rule out the hypothesis, bringing the physicians one step closer to a diagnosis. The differential diagnostic process is crucial when it comes to caring for patients.
Medical negligence is when the healthcare provider deviates from the reasonable standard of medical care and as a result of the deviation, the patient is injured or dies. Should this be the case, the healthcare provider may be held liable for medical malpractice.
Should the healthcare provider be working for a federal hospital or clinic, the Federal Tort Claims Act may apply. A typical early step for lawyers working on a potential military medical malpractice case is to examine the facts of the case and evaluate whether the healthcare provider properly used the method of differential diagnosis.
Proving a Misdiagnosis With differential diagnosis, the physician typically rules out the most severe causes first and then goes down other likely causes by their probabilities and further testing. Inadequate follow-through of each possibility may lead to the wrong diagnosis, or misdiagnosis.
Negligence and Military Medical Malpractice Cases
A misdiagnosis does not automatically mean that there are grounds for filing a military medical malpractice case. In order to have the proper basis for a military medical malpractice claim, the healthcare provider must have been negligent and injury must have occurred due to the negligence. In a medical malpractice case based on diagnostic error, the legal team must prove that a prudent healthcare provider in a similar specialty, under similar circumstances, would not have misdiagnosed the condition, showing one of two things:
1. The healthcare provider in question did not include the right diagnosis on the differential diagnosis list, and a skillful and capable doctor under similar circumstances would have. 2. The healthcare provider included the right diagnosis on the differential diagnosis list but did not conduct the appropriate tests in order to make the diagnosis properly.
About the Author
The Law Offices of Archuleta, Alsaffar, & Higginbotham help many military families, veterans, and veterans’ families recover damages due to military medical malpractice. The firm has achieved four of the largest judgements and settlements in the 60+ year-history of the Federal Tort Claims Act. Should you feel that you or a loved one suffered because of medical negligence or an incomplete diagnostic process, contact the law firm for a free case evaluation. As a licensed medical doctor and lawyer, Michael Archuleta has the sound experience and expertise in both fields to help.