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Failure to Order Tests: Medical Malpractice

Failure to order tests

In many cases, early diagnosis and medical treatment are key factors in saving a life or maintaining quality of life. Physicians often need results from medical tests to diagnose and treat health conditions, which is why a failure to order tests can have such devastating effects on the health of a patient.

Medical malpractice lawsuits can be used to seek damages for patients whose health was negatively affected by delayed treatment, improper treatment or no medical treatment because of a failure to order tests, lab errors or an incorrect interpretation of test results.

Treatment delayed with a failure to order tests

Medical tests and lab work are a normal part of many medical examinations; a failure to order appropriate tests can mean that a doctor has failed to properly examine a patient. In addition, lab work must be error-free and test results must be interpreted correctly in order to be of use to the patient’s diagnosis and treatment. One of the most common places for a failure to order tests is in emergency rooms where overcrowding puts a strain on physician resources.

As an example, cancer is commonly diagnosed through tests like biopsies, mammograms, blood and urine samples, X-rays and MRI scans. When a doctor fails to order these types of medical tests based on reported symptoms, he is putting his patient’s health and life at risk with a critical delay in diagnosis and medical treatment. Even if tests are ordered, a lab error committed by the technician or a misinterpretation by the diagnostician can also lead to devastating health consequences.

When a medical professional from a doctor or nurse to a lab technician or a diagnostician fails to meet the standard of care in the treatment of a patient because of a failure to order tests or a lab error and a patient is injured as a result, there may be a case for medical malpractice.

It should be noted that some medical care facilities take a precautionary approach against medical malpractice lawsuits by ordering unnecessary tests. This practice is called “defensive medicine” and has earned criticism from those who claim that it drives up the cost of health care. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), however, has pointed to other studies and its own research that says “…that savings from reducing defensive medicine would be very small.”

Medical malpractice lawyers can help

If you believe that your medical diagnosis or treatment was delayed because of a failure to order tests, a lab error or an incorrect diagnosis; contact a qualified medical malpractice attorney who will look at the facts of your situation and determine whether you have a case to pursue damages. An experienced medical malpractice law firm will have relationships with medical professionals who can review the technical aspects of medical tests or laboratory errors that may have delayed diagnosis or treatment in your case. They will negotiate with insurance companies that represent doctors and medical centers and litigate your malpractice case in court if that is the best course of action.

The Seattle personal injury attorneys at Morrow Kidman Tinker Macey-Cushman, PLLC have years of experience representing families harmed by medical malpractice, birth injuries and other personal injuries. We seek justice for patients who have been harmed by preventable medical errors including wrongful death, catastrophic injuries and traumatic brain injuries in Seattle and across Washington State. There are no fees or expenses to file a personal injury case as we only receive payment if we recover damages on your behalf. Do not delay; personal injury claims come with a statute of limitations, which means they must be filed within a certain time frame of the injury.

Call us now at 206-842-1000 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our compassionate, experienced Seattle injury lawyers. We are ready to fight for you.