failure to diagnose

When a medical professional fails to recognize the signs and symptoms of heart disease, he or she may have committed medical malpractice in the form of “failure to diagnose.” A general practitioner is responsible to listen to a patient’s heartbeat, test blood pressure and identify family history of heart disease. In some cases, a general practitioner may refer a patient to a heart specialist or make their own diagnosis. The purpose of these steps is to use the warning signs of heart disease to make a diagnosis and start a treatment plan before a heart attack happens. It goes without saying then that failure to diagnose heart disease puts the patient at serious risk for a potentially life threatening heart attack.

If you or a family member experienced a heart attack because of a failure to diagnose heart disease, you may have a case for medical malpractice. Depending on the outcome, you may be able to recover damages for wrongful death and funeral expenses, medical expenses, pain and suffering and rehabilitation. Contact a medical malpractice lawyer today; you pay only a percentage of the settlement.

How does a medical malpractice lawyer prove failure to diagnose?

According to, a medical malpractice attorney must prove three basic points to bring a viable medical malpractice claim for misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose:

  1. That a doctor-patient relationship existed when the alleged failure to diagnose occurred. This means simply that the patient was examined or treated by the doctor.
  2. That the doctor’s error was severe enough to qualify as negligence. A doctor has acted negligently when he or she fails to provide the quality of care that a reasonable physician would have provided under a similar set of circumstances.
  3. That the patient suffered harm directly because of that negligence. If a doctor fails to diagnose heart disease and the patient goes on to have a fatal heart attack that could have been prevented with diagnosis and treatment, the patient was directly harmed by the negligence.

How can a medical malpractice lawyer help?

  • A medical malpractice lawyer starts building a failure to diagnose case by gathering all relevant documents and evidence required for a successful outcome. He or she will interview all witnesses, retain expert witnesses and may schedule medical evaluations of your injury to gather independent medical opinions.
  • The attorney will serve a “complaint” on the defendant.
  • A medical malpractice lawyer will then handle the pre- trial litigation phase (also called the “discovery” phase) where details of the case are discussed with the defense attorney. The parties will decide if the case can be settled out of court or if it will continue to trial.
  • The attorney will handle the settlement or trial. Note that the majority of medical malpractice lawsuits are settled out of court, sometimes right before a trial begins.
  • Once a case is settled, the victim usually receives damages within a few months but it can vary depending on the state.

If you are experiencing even intermittent signs of a heart attack – including squeezing of the heart/chest pressure, dizziness, sweating, faintness, nausea, shortness of breath, and pain in the shoulders, arms, neck or jaw – get to an emergency room right away. Note that while women are also likely to experience pressure in the chest, the sensation may be less severe than it is for men. Women are also more likely to experience the additional list of symptoms than men.

If you or a loved one is dealing with an accident or injury, you have enough on your plate. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the justice and compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!