Differential Diagnosis Cross

  1. i-differentialdiagnosiscrossDifferential Diagnosis – General
    1. You’d agree that whenever a doctor sees a patient with abnormal signs or symptoms he is required by the standard of care to formulate a differential diagnosis, correct?
    2. It would be a breach of the standard of care if a doctor reaches a conclusion or diagnosis without using the differential diagnosis method, correct?
      1. You’d agree that a doctor’s diagnosis cannot be an assumption or guess, correct?
      2. This would be especially true when there is a reasonable possibility that there may be a different diagnosis that could being causing the signs and symptoms, correct?
    3. You’d agree that in applying the differential diagnosis method, a doctor is not allowed to ignore a reasonable possibility, right?
      1. In fact, you’d agree the standard of care requires the doctor to consider and rule out every reasonable possibility, right?
    4. This would be true even if he is convinced that there is another cause, correct?
      1. For example, if a patient comes in with chest pains, even though the doctor may be convinced that the problem is gas, he cannot ignore the possibility that it maybe a heart attack, right?
    5. And even if the doctor establishes one cause to be true, he cannot ignore other possible reasonable causes until he rules them out, correct?
  2. Differential Diagnosis – Three Steps
    1. Step One: Gather Information
      1. Would you agree that in applying the differential diagnosis method the first step is for the doctor to gather as much information about the problem as she can, right?
        1. History, risk factors, signs and symptoms, right?
    2. Step Two: Create List
      1. You’d agree that the next step is to create a complete list of everything that could reasonably be causing the signs and symptoms, right?
      2. You’d agree that the standard of care requires this list to be complete, correct?
        1. Can’t leave anything off, right?
        2. If not complete, the doctor could be placing the patient at risk of injury or death, right?
      3. You’d agree that in making this list, the doctor must put the causes which could possibly be dangerous to the patient at the top of the list, correct?
        1. And that is because there are some conditions where delay can endanger the patient’s life, right?
    3. Step Three: Rule Out
      1. You’d agree that the third step in applying the differential diagnosis method is to rule out the possible causes starting with the most dangerous ones, correct?
        1. And with the dangerous ones, you’d agree that steps to rule them out must be taken before the cause could harm or kill the patient, right?
        2. In some cases, where the possible cause could be an urgent danger to the patient, the doctor is required to rule it out or treat it immediately, correct?
          1. that is because the patient could be dead by the time test results come back, right?
      2. One method doctors use to rule out possible causes is to order tests, correct?
        1. Another way is to treat the possible cause to see if problem goes away, right?
        2. Another thing a doctor can do is to send a patient to a specialist if the possible cause it outside his experience or abilities, right?
        3. What else?
      3. You’d agree that a basic rule of the differential diagnosis method is: “if there’s any doubt, you cannot rule it out”
        1. You’d agree this rule is especially important when dealing with any dangerous causes, correct?
        2. Isn’t this how doctors make sure they do not miss anything?
    4. You’d agree that if a doctor ignores the differential diagnosis method, and a danger he did not rule out comes to pass, he is responsible for that harm, correct?


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