Would it be considered malpractice if a Doctor refused to look into a repeated compliant of back pain and it be found by another Doctor that a patient had herniated discs that got worse due to time going by with no medical attention?

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Would it be considered malpractice if a Doctor refused to look into a repeated compliant of back pain and it be found by another Doctor that a patient had herniated discs that got worse due to time going by with no medical attention?

I have been dealing with lower back pain for about six years and when I had first brought it to my doctor’s attention he responded with,

Asked on February 2, 2017 under Malpractice Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It *might* be malpractice if the 1st doctor's diagnosis was not just wrong, but unreasonable: that is, if a reasonable doctor, when presented with your symptoms, weight, history, etc. would have concluded otherwise. That is because doctors are not required to be perfect, since practicing medicine is as much as art as a science; rather, they just have to be as good as we expect doctors to be. So if a reasonable doctor may have said that it wwas likely your weight, this would likely not be malpractice.
Also, bear in mind that even if this was malpractice, whether or not it is malpractice is only half the case. The other half is damages: the compensation to which you would be entitled due to the injury or costs you incurred because of the malpractice. For example, you say that your condition got worse due to lack of medical attention. How much worse? You can only recover for the medical costs or potentially "pain and suffering" from the increase in the severity due to the delay--not based on the consequences of any part of the condition you'd have had anyway. So depending on the effect of the delay, it may or may not be worthwhile economically to bring legal action--malpractice cases are expensive, and for relatively small injuries or worsening of conditions, are generally not worth it.


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