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Medical Lawyers South Africa

Medical Lawyers on the Topic of Delayed Diagnosis and Negligence in South Africa

Like all people, doctors too can make mistakes and, thankfully, not all mistakes lead to serious injuries for patients. In many instances, the mistakes are rectified, and the patients don’t endure any discomfort because of such. However, where such mistakes lead to injury and damages, the patients have the right to take legal action against the practitioners. To this end, medical lawyers in South Africa assist the victims of medical negligence or malpractice in seeking recourse and compensation for the injury and damages suffered.

Misdiagnosis of a condition is possible if the symptoms are very similar to that of another disease. If the practitioner, however, has followed the correct procedure in diagnosing the patient, has considered the health history of the patient, and has eventually reached the correct diagnosis, is it still malpractice?

Medical lawyers in South Africa are often asked questions such as this, but to provide accurate legal guidance, they consider all factors, like whether the patient has disclosed all the necessary information to help the medical practitioner come to an accurate diagnosis, whether the patient has suffered injury because of such, and more.

Delayed Diagnosis vs Misdiagnosis

A delay in diagnosis is not the same as misdiagnosis. With misdiagnosis, the practitioner reaches a wrong conclusion and thus provides treatment for another condition, instead of the one that the patient is suffering from. With a delayed diagnosis, the practitioner doesn’t identify the medical condition within a reasonable time to ensure timely treatment of the condition.

Delayed diagnosis can constitute negligence or malpractice if specific conditions are met, best discussed with experienced medical lawyers who are familiar with the relevant laws pertaining to such in South Africa. Delayed diagnosis can cause a condition to develop beyond reasonable intervention, leaving the patient with a reduced chance of recovering from the condition without permanent harm. It can also cause the administration of the wrong medication, while the true condition goes untreated.

To determine whether it is malpractice, the medical lawyers in South Africa call in experts in the particular field of practice to help assess whether another practitioner in a similar situation would have reached an accurate diagnosis earlier, and would have followed the same procedures or have taken additional steps to diagnose and treat the condition.

Factors such as whether the practitioner did request tests, did interpret the results correctly and did follow the right procedures in diagnosing the patient must be considered. In addition, the patient must have suffered harm because of the misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. The harm must have been the direct result of the actions or lack thereof by the practitioner. There must have been a duty of care as well.

In Conclusion

Many factors must be considered to determine whether it is a case of negligence or malpractice. If you have suffered harm from misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis by a health practitioner responsible for treating you as the patient, seek legal guidance from medical lawyers in South Africa. Call Adele van der Walt Incorporated for legal assistance.

* Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Call on our attorneys for legal advice rather than relying on the information herein to make any decisions. Information is relevant to the date of publishing. – July 2020

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