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Can someone diagnosed with something that could have been prevented have a potential law suit?

Savannah, GA |
Filed under: Medical malpractice

A friend of mine has been going to a clinic for more than several years now. Last year this friend was diagnosed with end stage renal disease in 2012. Several years prior, it was found in his patient file where one of the physicians notated "renal insufficiency" and recommended follow up from the patient. The patient was not notified to make a return appointment until he was called in December 2009. He scheduled an appointment for January 2010 as requested. No one mentioned the "renal insufficiency" diagnosis or gave any insight into how to take precautions to reduce the further risk of kidney damage. It was not until 2012 until this person was sent to a nephrologist and diagnosed with end stage renal disease. This person is close to being on dialysis which could have been prevented.

Attorney Answers 4

  1. Yes, failure diagnose and failure to inform a patient of test results can be the basis of a medical malpractice claim. You should have your friend consult an attorney immediately though. The dates you've indicated may be probe tic with regard to the statute of limitations.

    This answer is provided as a public service for informational purposes only. Providing this information does not create an attorney-client relationship. As with all legal matters, you should contact an experienced attorney in your geographical area to discuss the law specific to your state. For more information, see

  2. Failure to diagnose can be malpractice. So can the diagnosis of something that ends up progressing due to lack of follow up by the health care providers. There are no guarantees but there are statutes of limitation; so your friend ought to get all of the records together and have them reviewed by an experienced Med Mal attorney.

  3. There is a specific tort within the Medical Malpractice umbrella called "Failure to Diagnose." It is a very specific tort that has specific factual requirements. This isn't the best forum to address your specific fact pattern in detail, but the gist is that an experienced attorney needs to review the records and probably consult a nephrologist to determine whether your friend's condition should have been diagnosed earlier (liability), and whether the outcome for her would have been better if he had (damages). Please note there is a strict 2 yr statute of limitations in med mal cases in Georgia, and consult an attorney sooner rather than later. Good luck to your friend.

    For more information, contact us at or (770) 984-5380. The initial consultation is always free. This post is intended to provide general guidance, and should not be construed as legal advice. While I am an attorney, unless we sign a retainer agreement, I am not your attorney, and any information shared on Avvo does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please mark this answer as "Helpful" or "Best Answer" if you like it.

  4. Failure to diagnose

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