What happens when a Physician Fails to Take a Proper Medical History?

It is possible that a physician who has failed to ask his or her patient about their medical history has committed medical malpractice. A medical history is a pivotal part of most medical treatments. Failure to take a medical history, which is considered routine, can have numerous and sometimes grave consequences for the patient.

What is medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice occurs whenever medical personnel, such as a doctor or nurse do not perform their job competently. When their incompetence causes harm to the patient, such as misdiagnosing him or her or prescribing the wrong medication, then he or she may have grounds for a lawsuit. A competent New York Medical Malpractice lawyer will be able to address the specific questions concerning your case.

How can I prove medical malpractice?

To prove a claim for medical malpractice in New York, the injured patient must prove four things:

  1. There was a doctor-patient relationship. In short, you can only sue a doctor who is treating you as a patient. Therefore, you cannot bring a medical malpractice claim against the doctor whose advertisement you read on the interstate.
  2. The physician was “negligent.” Negligent is a legal term for “careless behavior.” Therefore, when the doctor did not take a proper medical history he likely acted carelessly since most other doctors would have and the consequences could be grave.
  3. The physician’s “negligence” caused your injury. This element of a medical malpractice claim seems simple enough. Basically, you cannot sue a doctor for medical malpractice if the harm to the patient is unrelated to the careless behavior.

What are common injuries caused by a physician failing to take a proper medical history?

A physician’s failure to chart their patient’s medical history can cause a host of problems. Here are the two most common:

  1. Inappropriate medication prescribed. If a doctor has failed to take your medical history, then he or she may prescribe a medication that you may be allergic to or conflicts with other medication that you are currently taking.
  2. Misdiagnosis or Failure to Diagnose. In some situations, a doctor’s failure to check his or her patient’s medical history can result in the patient being diagnosed with the wrong disease. In other cases, it can result in someone not receiving their diagnosis early enough. Depending on the situation, this can limit treatment options or cause more harm to the patient than would have been necessary.

What should I do next?

It is important to note that there are very strict limits on when you can sue a doctor for malpractice. These time limits vary based on the type of harm caused by the doctor’s actions and the date the patient discovered the harm or alleged malpractice. To ensure you are fairly compensated for injuries that a doctor may have caused you or a friend, please call us to set up a free consult today.

About the Author
Of all the different areas in medical malpractice, it is podiatry malpractice that has had a particular interest to me. With 42 years practicing law and representing hundreds of victims of malpractice, I have created a law practice in which my clients are comfortable knowing that their case is being handled with my personal attention, in the most professional manner, and without unreasonable delays.