The American Diabetes Association reports that diabetes is the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States. Over 23 million Americans have the condition, and it remains the country’s most common cause for kidney failure, blindness, and non-traumatic amputations. Obesity, genetics, and pregnancy are all known causes of diabetes that can often be managed with appropriate diet, exercise, and medical monitoring. Unfortunately, when a healthcare provider fails to properly diagnose, treat, or educate a diabetic patient, the patient’s declining health can trigger many related medical problems. If this occurs, the healthcare provider’s negligence may be grounds for pursuing a medical malpractice claim.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease affecting the production of the hormone insulin, which is used to convert sugar (glucose) and starches into energy. Two types of diabetes exist:
- Type 1 diabetes was formerly known as juvenile diabetes, as it is generally diagnosed in children, adolescents, and young adults. Only about five percent of diabetics have this form of the condition. Insulin therapy and healthy habits help manage Type 1 diabetes so patients can live active, healthy lives.
- Type 2 diabetes – also known as insulin resistance – is the most common type. Common complications involved with Type 2 are skin infections, neuropathy (nerve damage affecting extremities), eye and vision issues, kidney disease, and high blood pressure. Again, Type 2 diabetes can be alleviated or prevented with proper diet, exercise, and education.
Misdiagnosis by your physician can keep you from receiving the treatment you need. For example, high blood pressure – a condition closely associated with diabetes – should be addressed with certain medications like ACE inhibitors. These drugs can also help maintain the health of the kidneys’ vital filtering system. Steps like outpatient laser treatments can also be used to prevent diabetes-induced retinal depreciation, which causes blindness. However, none of these treatments can be explored if your doctor misdiagnoses your diabetes. As a result, any injuries or debilitating conditions resulting from delayed diagnosis or treatment of diabetes may be compensable through a claim for medical malpractice.
Lack of Follow-up
Physician follow-up after a diabetes diagnosis is one of the most effective ways to promote a healthy management of the disease. Endocrinologists are highly recommended as they specialize in the hormones of the body. Whomever you choose, your physician has a duty to uphold specific medical standards of care. In the case of diabetes, this typically means regular hemoglobin testing, eye check-ups, and foot testing for classic neuropathy signs. Your doctor may also be obligated to either educate you on the disease and how to manage it properly, or to refer you to a diabetic educator. Any complications that result from a failure to meet the appropriate standard of care during follow-up can also be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
A normally non-diabetic woman may become diabetic during pregnancy. This type of diabetes, called gestational diabetes, can result in an abnormally large fetus due to the overabundance of unprocessed glucose in the umbilical blood. This makes both the mother and the infant susceptible to potentially fatal complications during delivery. Misdiagnosis of gestational diabetes is a common and serious form of medical malpractice.
Berkowitz and Hanna LLC – Connecticut’s Medical Malpractice Lawyers
Complications from all types of diabetes have the very real potential to be life-threatening. If you have been misdiagnosed as a result of medical negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your past and future medical expenses, loss of wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. Berkowitz and Hanna LLC serves clients throughout Connecticut, including New Haven, New London, and Waterbury. To discuss your situation, contact us today for a free consultation.