When Is Delayed Treatment Considered Medical Malpractice? By Larry A. Tawwater on November 23, 2020

A woman in a hospital bedMedical malpractice occurs when a doctor or other health care professional's failure to provide a standard of care leads to patient harm or death. A medical malpractice attorney can help patients and their loved ones seek compensation for injuries, and hold negligent medical professionals responsible for their actions.

Sometimes a delay in treatment can cause a patient harm and may constitute medical malpractice. At the Tawwater Law Firm, our Oklahoma City, OK attorneys offer case reviews to determine if there is a claim for medical malpractice and delayed treatment. Today, we'll take a closer look at how delayed treatment may be considered medical malpractice.

Is a Delay in Treatment Always Medical Malpractice?

Delaying treatment isn't always considered medical malpractice in Oklahoma City. There are reasons a doctor may wait to treat a condition that are within the accepted standard of care. Sometimes doctors wait until they have a clear diagnosis, especially when a patient presents symptoms that could be one of several illnesses or injuries.

This sort of delay may not initially be considered negligent but if treatment is delayed so long that a patient is harmed, it may be considered malpractice.

Determining whether a delay in treatment is medical malpractice often depends on what another competent doctor would have done in a similar situation. If this doctor would have treated the patient sooner, there may be a case for medical malpractice.

Patient Harm and Determining Medical Malpractice

Another consideration in determining whether a delay in treatment constitutes medical malpractice is whether the patient was harmed as a result of the delay.

Delays in treatment that don't harm the patient are not considered medical malpractice. However, if harm did occur as a result of the delay, there may be a case for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Some ways in which harm may occur as a result of delayed treatment include:

  • The condition became worse
  • Pain and discomfort increased
  • Pain and discomfort was made unnecessarily long by delay in treatment
  • The limited time frame to treat a certain condition passed
  • Delay lessened the effectiveness of treatment once it was provided

When Might a Delay In Treatment Be Considered Medical Malpractice?

A delay in treatment that results in harm to the patient may be considered medical malpractice. The following are some possible examples of medical malpractice from delayed treatment:

  • Failure to diagnose: A doctor may fail to order tests to help identify and diagnose a patient's condition. Other times, tests may be ordered but the doctor fails to interpret the results correctly or otherwise misses a diagnosis.
  • Diagnosing too late: Making a diagnosis too late can lead to delayed treatment and may be grounds for medical malpractice if the patient saw their doctor several times before a diagnosis and treatment began.
  • Failing to provide emergency treatment: Doctors or other medical professionals may fail to provide emergency treatment in a timely manner if they were negligent in monitoring a patient. This can result in serious injury to the patient or death.

Why You Need a Medical Malpractice Attorney

Medical malpractice lawsuits can be complex, often requiring substantial evidence and expert witnesses to prove negligence occurred. The attorneys of the Tawwater Law Firm can take the confusion out of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit to help victims get the settlement they deserve.

Speak with Our Team of Lawyers

If you live in or around Oklahoma City and believe you are a victim of medical malpractice, we encourage you to schedule a consultation at the Tawwater Law Firm by calling (405) 607-1400.

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