When a patient goes to a Hawaii medical provider for assistance, they expect to receive quality care and have their medical conditions diagnosed in a timely fashion and treated appropriately. Unfortunately, some medical providers fail to provide the level of care they are legally and ethically obligated to provide. Some of the most common forms of medical error include misdiagnosis, improper treatment or treatment without consent.
One of the most egregious errors a doctor occurs during the diagnosis process. A misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis or failure to diagnose can cause the patient to suffer additional harm that he or she would not have suffered if they had been appropriately diagnosed in the first place. Physicians are expected to establish a differential diagnosis, where a doctor will evaluate a patient come up with a list of possible diagnoses based on a patient’s symptoms. The doctor will list these possible conditions from most likely to least likely. In order to determine whether a doctor has misdiagnosed a patient, courts will often consider whether a reasonably competent doctor would have come up with a condition not on the treating physician’s list or whether the reasonably competent doctor would have ruled out certain conditions by ordering additional tests.
Another common error can be recommending the wrong treatment or medication, or failing to recommend treatment at all. In many cases, a doctor will evaluate a patient’s symptoms as minor, when they are really a sign of a much more serious condition. As a result, the patient may not get the treatment they need until it is too late.
Finally, doctors are legally required to obtain informed consent from the patient before administering treatment. If the doctor fails to give the patient a full picture of the possible risks and advantages to a certain treatment, the patient is not legally able to consent. If the patient suffers harm as a result of a procedure he or she did not consent to, the doctor may be liable for medical malpractice.