Many Ann Arbor residents do their best to take care of their health. They eat right and exercise. They may give up or cut down on bad habits. And they see their doctor regularly, sometimes seeking out preventive screening and similar tests with the goal of catching any dangerous conditions in the earliest possible stages.
Ann Arbor residents today are used to the kinds of campaigns designed to raise awareness of certain health conditions. From the "ice bucket challenge" of ALS to breast cancer awareness month, these efforts may help convince some to seek out screening and early detection measures that might help them catch a dangerous condition early on.
As we noted last week here on our Ann Arbor medical malpractice blog, it's possible for a misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose to arise in any number of situations. Sometimes, a provider may proceed with a diagnosis in spite of difficulty understanding a patient's native language; a hospital may fail to provide trained, professional interpreters who can facilitate the kind of detailed, accurate communication necessary for a diagnosis.
Ann Arbor residents today are a more diverse population than perhaps any other point in our history. We may hear any number of languages besides English spoken on the streets, in shopping malls and schools, in restaurants and on public transportation. Unfortunately, one place where languages other than English are not spoken nearly enough -- or nearly well enough -- is our hospitals and clinics.
We hope that our last post here on our Ann Arbor medical malpractice law blog got our readers thinking about how they might handle a situation in which they suspect that a physician has failed to diagnose a heart condition. In that story, a patient died during gallbladder surgery because of his providers' failure to diagnose heart failure. Let's look at some of the signs that should ordinarily serve as red flags to doctors that a patient may be suffering heart failure, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Heart problems are among the more serious health issues that Ann Arbor residents may face in their lifetimes. Because of the serious risks posed by heart conditions, physicians are trained to recognize signs in their patients that could be indicators of a heart attack or similar emergency related to the heart. When they fail to diagnose such a condition, they may be held liable in court for damages resulting from their negligence.
Last week's post here on our Ann Arbor medical malpractice law blog about a case of failure to diagnose cancer may have spurred some questions among our readers. After all, misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose can be a challenging claim for victims to prove. As painful as their losses often are -- perhaps even fatal -- it's naturally more difficult to prove such claims that it often is in, say, a case of a botched surgery or a medication error.
There is a tragic fact underlying many misdiagnosis cases here in Ann Arbor and across the United States. That is that some victims do not live long enough to hold a negligent physician accountable for failing to live up to the standards of the profession. However, a victim in one recent case is working with her legal counsel to try to tell her side of the story while she still can.
As consumers of medical services, we expect that our doctors have the education, training and experience necessary to property diagnose, treat and monitor our illnesses, diseases and other conditions. When a doctor fails to catch a serious diagnosis, the consequences can be serious, doing significant harm to the patient.