Potential Consequences of Delayed Medical Care
Posted on December 14, 2023 in Medical Malpractice
Delayed medical treatment can lead to serious consequences, including an exasperation of an injury or illness, disabilities that affect day-to-day life, and even death. Delayed medical care can occur due to a variety of reasons, including medical provider negligence. Here, we want to review the potential consequences of delayed medical treatment and discuss whether or not victims of this type of negligence can recover compensation for their losses. A medical malpractice lawyer in Portland can discuss the details of your case in more specific detail to help you determine your options.
Why Does Delayed Medical Care Happen?
Delayed medical treatment can occur due to a wide variety of reasons, ranging from simple unintended oversights in the medical setting to complete medical negligence on the part of a medical provider. Some of the most common causes of delayed medical treatment include:
- Limited access to healthcare facilities – In many regions, especially rural or underserved areas, there is a scarcity of healthcare facilities, leading to longer travel times and delayed treatment.
- Financial constraints – High medical costs, lack of insurance, or inadequate insurance coverage can prevent or delay individuals from seeking timely medical care.
- Wait times for appointments – Often, patients experience long wait times for appointments, particularly with specialists, leading to delayed treatment.
- Lack of awareness or knowledge – Patients may not recognize the severity of their symptoms or the need for medical attention, resulting in delays in seeking care.
- Fear of diagnosis or treatment – Anxiety about potential diagnoses or fear of medical procedures can cause individuals to postpone seeking medical attention.
- Cultural or linguistic barriers – Cultural beliefs and language differences can harm effective communication between a patient and their healthcare providers, causing delays in treatment.
- Work and personal responsibilities – Work schedules, caregiving duties, or other personal responsibilities often lead patients to delay seeking medical attention.
- Transportation issues – Lack of dependable transportation can be a significant barrier to accessing timely medical care, especially for elderly or disabled individuals.
- Systemic healthcare inefficiencies – Inefficient healthcare systems, including bureaucratic hurdles and poor coordination between different healthcare services, can lead to delayed treatment.
- Patient-provider mistrust – Mistrust or previous negative experiences with healthcare providers can discourage patients from promptly seeking medical help.
Many of these causes of delayed medical treatment are not necessarily the fault of a medical professional or medical facility. However, some are. Incidents such as delayed waiting times or healthcare system inefficiencies directly affect the health and well-being of patients.
Delayed medical treatment has always been an issue, but this problem gained additional attention during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic when hospitals reached a breaking point. Unfortunately, many individuals received delayed medical treatment for a variety of ailments, including severe injuries and illnesses.
Consequences of Delayed Medical Treatment
Consequences of delayed medical treatment can affect individuals in a variety of ways, and this can include delays with the treatment of acute injuries or illnesses as well as the overall long-term medical treatment delays caused by systemic lack of access to doctors or other medical professionals.
When individuals do not have regular and affordable access to a medical provider, they are much more likely to develop long-term health issues. This includes issues caused by undiagnosed and untreated issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, lung diseases, and cancers.
Individuals who go to a hospital or doctor for an acute injury or illness but receive delayed treatment could also face disastrous long-term health consequences. Some of the most common consequences of delayed medical care include:
- A worsening of a patient’s illness or injury
- Delayed treatment of a necessary medical procedure or intervention
- Delayed diagnosis of a serious medical condition
- Increased risk of additional complications arising
- The need for more intensive treatment once a diagnosis is made
- Permanent disability or impairment
Unfortunately, delayed medical treatment can also lead to death in some circumstances. Even though delayed medical care may not be the immediate cause of a person’s death, the delayed care can prolong the time it takes for a person to receive the care they need for an underlying medical issue. In such a case, a victim’s family may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Portland.
Can You File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit for Delayed Medical Treatment?
You may indeed be able to file a lawsuit against a medical provider or medical entity if you received delayed medical care and if this delayed treatment caused you harm. We encourage you to contact a skilled medical malpractice lawyer who can examine the facts of your case.
Medical malpractice claims are incredibly challenging, and determining liability involves establishing certain elements of negligence. These elements must show that there was a medical professional-patient relationship and that the medical professional failed to uphold an adequate standard of medical care.
When you have a trusted medical malpractice attorney by your side, you will have an individual and firm with the resources needed to conduct a complete investigation into your claim. Your attorney will likely need to enlist assistance from trusted medical professionals who can examine the facts of the case and provide expert witness testimony for the insurance carriers or at a medical malpractice jury trial.
Recovering Compensation for Delayed Medical Care
Individuals who file a medical malpractice lawsuit and are successful may be able to recover various types of compensation for their losses. Part of the process of preparing these claims is understanding all losses a medical malpractice victim is expected to incur. Individuals who sustain harm due to delayed medical care may be able to recover the following economic and non-economic damages:
- Economic damages. These types of damages refer to the calculable expenses a medical malpractice victim may incur as a result of the incident, including medical bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, and more.
- Non-economic damages. These types of damages revolve around more immeasurable expenses a medical malpractice victim may endure, including their emotional, psychological, and physical pain and suffering.
The total amount of compensation available for a successful claim based on delayed medical care will vary based on several factors related to each particular situation. Your attorney will be able to give you a ballpark understanding of the types of compensation you may be able to receive for your claim.