Early diagnosis is the key to treating kidney disease

The kidneys serve a vitally important function, eliminating toxins and waste from the body, but when they start to decline, the signs and symptoms are not always clear to those without medical training. Fortunately, doctors should recognize symptoms that may indicate kidney trouble and are able to conduct simple tests to check their patients' kidney function. When these health care professionals do not do so and fail to timely diagnose kidney disease, however, they may have committed medical malpractice.

According to the National Kidney Foundation, when the kidneys are not working as they should, waste and excess fluid builds up in the blood. People with kidney disease may feel generally sick, but the symptoms are usually nonspecific, such as feeling a lack of energy or muscle cramps. With kidney disease, there is also a high risk of complications such as high blood pressure and anemia.

If left untreated, kidney disease worsens over time, so it is important to detect and treat it early. Blood and urine tests may show the presence of proteins or other waste, signaling how well the kidneys are functioning. If kidney disease is diagnosed at an early stage, treatment may include medication and lifestyle or dietetic changes. If kidney disease is diagnosed late, however, the patient may experience kidney failure, which requires the patient to undergo a kidney transplant or dialysis.

Medical negligence in failure to diagnose kidney disease

The differences in treatment when kidney disease is diagnosed early as opposed to late are quite stark. If a doctor does not timely diagnose kidney disease and the patient requires significant medical treatment - such as a kidney transplant - the patient may be able to make a claim against the doctor in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Through a lawsuit, if the patient and his or her lawyer can show that the doctor was negligent in failing to order appropriate diagnostic tests, failing to consider the personal and family history or the patient or waiting too long to begin treatment, the patient may be able to obtain compensation for his or her pain and suffering as well as the costs of medical care.

Statistics show that millions of Americans have chronic kidney disease but are unaware of their condition. Therefore, it is important that we can rely on doctors to investigate the possibility of kidney disease, especially considering that testing can be so simple. If you or a loved one has required a kidney transplant because of a failure to timely diagnose kidney disease, contact a medical malpractice attorney to learn about your legal options.