Kidney failure is a serious disorder in which toxins and waste products aren’t properly removed from the blood. Unfortunately, its symptoms are often difficult to detect until kidney function has severely declined, and can lead to a misdiagnosis. Some symptoms of kidney failure include feelings of tiredness, lethargy and weakness. Kidney failure can also result in breathing difficulties, anemia and loss of appetite. If the disease progresses, it may eventually result in organ failure, coma and even death. Kidney failure is treated with dialysis, and in some cases a kidney transplant may be possible.
Early diagnosis of kidney failure is critical. Since its early symptoms are usually invisible, urinalysis and other tests are essential for making an accurate diagnosis. If a doctor fails to properly diagnose kidney failure in you or a loved one, a delay in treatment could lead to serious complications or even death.
When Medical Malpractice is to Blame for Complications of Kidney Failure
If the signs of kidney failure should have been obvious to most doctors, it can be grounds for a charge of medical malpractice. First, you will have to prove that the following has occurred before it will be considered malpractice:
- You must show that the doctor was negligent in failing to give you an accurate diagnosis. This can be difficult since early kidney failure often has no symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they can also be signs of other diseases besides kidney failure. To prove malpractice, your doctor must have missed signs that a reasonable doctor would have heeded.
- You must prove that the kidney failure or complications are the direct result of the physician’s negligence. If your kidney failure wouldn’t have been treatable even if the doctor did notice the symptoms, the jury won’t be able to award you damages. In addition, if the outcome would have been the same whether or not the doctor discovered your kidney failure earlier and if no additional pain, suffering or injury resulted, you also won’t be able to collect on a malpractice lawsuit.
In most cases, expert testimony is essential for proving your case. Witnesses will need to convince the court that the doctor was negligent and that your injury was the result of that negligence.