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Failure To Treat

When illnesses or serious conditions like cancer are finally diagnosed, many may wonder if they could have been diagnosed earlier. In instances where medical providers should have diagnosed conditions and therefore failed to appropriately treat patients, legal compensation may be available.

Common reasons for a failure to properly diagnose and treat a medical condition include misinterpretation of images such as scans and X-rays, misinterpretation of blood work results, failure to accurately review patient’s self-reporting, improperly placed presumptions due to implicit bias, or sheer negligence due to a medical provider’s fatigue or carelessness. In fact, a study conducted by the Journal of Patient Safety revealed that nearly 1 in 5 Iowa adults reported being involved in a medical error. Clearly, patients must understand their rights and options to both prevent these errors from happening but also their ability to seek compensation when they do.

Iowa Failure to Treat Attorney

Medical malpractice cases can be quite complicated, especially failure to treat claims. If you have suffered injuries as a result of a medical provider who failed to treat your condition, contact McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. to seek experienced legal guidance.

We believe strongly that people who have suffered serious injury at the hands of negligent health care providers deserve considerable compensation. Our attorneys can evaluate and file a claim for medical malpractice on your behalf.

Call (515) 279-9700 to secure a free consultation with McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. today. McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. accept failure to treat cases throughout Polk County, Dallas County, and throughout the state of Iowa.

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Information Center

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Failure to Treat Due to Misinterpreting Results

Oftentimes, when medical providers order imaging or blood work, patients are referred because critical information is needed to further diagnose their symptoms and complaints or to evaluate the effectiveness of their current treatment. When medical providers fail to accurately review this data, serious problems can occur for patients.

Misreading lab results can easily trigger no diagnosis. This can equate to a failure to treat or an improper diagnosis. When an improper diagnosis is administered, providers can continue down a course of treatment that fails to treat the underlying condition, or worse, exacerbates the issues altogether. With inaccurate medical data fueling the medical treatment plan, a patient’s health can continue to diminish as unnecessary and ineffective medical treatment continues to wreak havoc on their medical, emotional, and financial health. Oftentimes patients may reach a breaking point, wondering why their condition is not improving or feel especially discouraged after spending a great deal of money to get “nowhere.” If this is the case, it’s always worth considering whether the medical treatment administered was based on a true and accurate review of images and lab results.

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Failure to Treat Errors

Although patients should feel comfortable trusting the discretion and expertise of their medical providers, the fact of the matter is that accidents happen. Lab results can be improperly interpreted by new lab technicians who lack experience or by interns who are improperly supervised or ignored. Communication errors between multiple departments at a hospital or doctor’s office can result in tests not being performed that were ordered, tests being done under improper testing conditions. Even doctors can commit fatal errors when they review results that should trigger certain medical knowledge but fail to do so due to their lack of experience handling specialized conditions.

For patients who have suffered due to a misread or badly performed test, legal recourse may be available in the forms of economic and noneconomic compensation such as reimbursement for medical expenses, future medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering, etc.

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Dismissal Of A Patient’s Self-Reporting

Oftentimes patients know their bodies best. In instances where pain, fatigue, or nausea suddenly onsets, they are best equipped with describing their symptoms and the manner illnesses may be manifesting. Unfortunately, doctors or medical staff, who may be fatigued or simply ignorant, can pay little to no attention to a patient’s words. When professionals fail to ignore hallmark symptoms and signs of underlying medical conditions, they may have acted negligently. Effective communication skills within the patient-physician relationship are paramount as physicians are tasked with the responsibility of initiating appropriate questions, clarifying inconsistencies in a patient’s self-reporting, and documenting progress or lack thereof, all of which are necessary for a physician to develop an appropriate and ongoing treatment plan for their patients.

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Provider Fatigue And Negligence

When doctors and medical providers are overworked and fatigued, they may make critical mistakes or overlook crucial information in a patient’s file. Overworked and exhausted doctors, nurses, and staff are more likely to make errors. This can result in a gamut of dismissal of patients’ concerns to life-threatening mistakes. If patients feel their injuries were the result of a fatigued or distracted provider, medical malpractice claims against the providers and/or their employers may be available.

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Implicit Bias And Presumptions

Implicit bias may occur when a medical professional automatically and unintentionally jumps to conclusions and decisions about patients based on various social stereotypes such as their age, weight, socioeconomic status, gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation. Oftentimes, this may cause a provider to think a patient is exaggerating or misreporting their symptoms, which in turn can result in a failure to treat the patient’s actual medical conditions. For example, a doctor may believe an overweight patient is struggling to walk because they are out of shape. However, a much larger medical condition may be at play. If a doctor’s bias regarding this scenario is at play, they may fail to order appropriate tests, request the right referrals, or come up with a treatment plan altogether.

While this is just one example, a physician’s own experiences and presumptions about their patients can cloud their judgment and ability to effectively treat patients, resulting in medical malpractice claims.

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Iowa’s Modified Comparative Negligence Rule

In instances where a patient is partly responsible for causing or aggravating their own injuries (failure to comply with doctor’s orders, attending treatments, etc.), Iowa follows a modified comparative negligence rule. The comparative negligence rule is codified in §668.5 and essentially dictates that a claimant’s award will be reduced according to their share of the fault for their own damages. The law further holds, however, that if a claimant is found to be more than 50% liable for their injuries, they won’t be able to seek damages at all.

Patients who think they might have a medical malpractice claim should seek the advice of an experienced medical malpractice attorney to ensure they are not implicitly affecting their ability to recover damages in failure to treat claims.

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How To Know If A Failure To Treat Claim Is Present

Medical Malpractice and Negligence claims require skilled attorneys who can easily understand and review complex medical data and reports while simultaneously discerning if legal liabilities exist. Patients who fear they may have suffered emotional, physical, and financial harm due to a provider’s failure to provide appropriate medical care should seek the help of an experienced attorney. Because the statute of limitations applies and crucial steps may need to be taken to preserve a patient’s claim against their providers, patients should seek advice from an attorney as soon as possible to both maximize their ability to recover damages as well as minimize harm which is likely ongoing.

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Additional Resources

Journal of Patient Safety: Medical Errors – Access the official website for the Journal of Patient Safety to view an article on medical errors in Iowa.

Johns Hopkins Medicine: Medical Errors – Follow the link provided to access the Johns Hopkins Medicine website that to view an article on medical errors which are suggested as the third leading cause of death in the U.S.

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West Des Moines Failure to Treat Lawyer | Polk County, Iowa

If you have suffered harm at the hands of your healthcare provider as a result of a delay in treatment or failure to diagnose, it is imperative that you seek the assistance of a qualified personal injury attorney in Iowa. At McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C., our lawyers are experienced in medical malpractice litigation and can recover the damages you deserve.

Don’t make the situation more difficult by waiting too long to seek the help you need. Call McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. at (515) 279-9700 to secure a free consultation today.

McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. is based in the West Des Moines area, but we accept clients throughout Polk County and Dallas County including Ankeny, Altoona, Polk City, Johnston, Pleasant Hill, Windsor Heights, Van Meter, Minburn, Waukee, Redfield, Adel, Dallas Center, and Perry.

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