A missed injury can have severe consequences for patients, causing unnecessary pain, suffering, and death. Missed injury rates can vary between 1.3% and 39%, with up to 22.3% of missed injuries being clinically significant. A more recent study found that 25.5% of patients in an intensive care unit experienced missed injuries.

Missed injuries often harm patients and can give cause to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the healthcare provider. Understanding how these incidents happen can help patients and their families better advocate for their care and protect their rights.

What is a Missed Injury?

A missed injury is when a healthcare provider fails to correctly identify and treat an injury or condition, leading to its worsening or complication.

For example, imagine you visit your doctor complaining of stomach pain. Your doctor sends you home without proper evaluation, causing you to return later with a burst appendix. In this situation, the doctor could have prevented your appendix from bursting if they had adequately diagnosed you earlier.

Missed injuries can also happen when a doctor does provide treatment to a patient but fails to diagnose or provide all necessary treatment. For example, an accident victim may suffer both a broken bone and a concussion. If the doctor only diagnosed and provided treatment for the broken bone, but stopped short of checking for concussion, they could be considered negligent and held liable for complications related to the concussion.

How Missed Injuries Happen

Missed injuries can occur due to various factors and oversights in the healthcare system. Some of the main reasons missed injuries occur include:

  • Lack of Proper Diagnosis: Sometimes, healthcare providers may misdiagnose a condition, overlook symptoms, or fail to consider alternative diagnoses.
  • Doctor’s Failure to Order Necessary Tests: A missed injury can occur when a healthcare provider fails to order necessary tests based on the patient’s symptoms, medical history, or risk factors.
  • Communication Breakdowns: In a busy healthcare environment, communication breakdowns between healthcare providers can lead to missed injuries, such as staff not communicating a test result to the treating physician.
  • Inadequate Patient Follow-Up: Inadequate patient follow-up or insufficient reevaluation of a patient’s condition can result in a missed injury, as providers may not recognize worsening symptoms or the emergence of new issues.

Steps to Avoid Missed Injuries

You can take several steps to avoid suffering from a missed injury and protect your rights if medical malpractice occurs.

  • Request that actions be documented in your medical records: You can ask that any actions, such as a doctor’s refusal to order a test or follow up on a symptom, be documented in your records. This can help demonstrate negligence or a deviation from the standard of care.
  • Ask questions: Ask questions about your diagnosis, treatment plan, and follow-up care to ensure that you understand what to expect and what to look out for. Get a copy of your doctor’s recommendations to refer to them if needed.
  • Follow up: Follow up with your healthcare provider if your symptoms persist or worsen or if you experience new symptoms.
  • Seek a second opinion: You can seek a second opinion from another healthcare provider if you are unsure about your diagnosis or treatment plan.
  • Advocate for yourself: Be your own advocate and actively participate in your healthcare. Speak up if you feel something has been overlooked or have concerns about the care you receive.

If you experience a missed injury, these steps can help protect your legal rights and prove your case if you file a medical malpractice claim. Records of your requests can help your attorney demonstrate that the healthcare provider acted negligently, strengthening your case.

Get Compensation for Your Injuries

Hiring a Baton Rouge medical malpractice lawyer is vital in pursuing compensation for missed injuries. We can navigate the complex legal system, gather the necessary evidence, and advocate on your behalf to fight for a fair settlement.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. We understand the impact of missed injuries on your life and are committed to helping you get the compensation you deserve.

This content has been reviewed by Chad Lederman, Director of Legal Operations at our New Orleans office.

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