Innovation is one the things in medicine that everyone roots for. So when new discoveries are found to make things easier or to ensure patient safety, it is worth reporting.

A new test has been developed that can help doctors differentiate between bacterial and viral infections. The test is important because the symptoms that emanate from these illnesses could be confused. This may result doctors prescribing antibiotics for viral infections (that may not be effective at all), or not giving antibiotics to treat bacterial infections which can lead to terrible infections.

According to a recent report, the blood test, which has cleared clinical testing, works by identifying patterns in the distinctive proteins that can activated by bacteria or viruses in a person’s blood. A certain pattern of proteins will signify a bacterial infection, while another pattern will signify a viral infection.

It remains to be seen when (or whether) the test will be used on a commercial basis, but this innovation exemplifies the steps physicians should take to ensure patient safety. Indeed, properly diagnosing an illness is a basic step in the treatment process, and reasonable care must be taken. This means that a doctor must follow established protocols when treating a patient; and when a doctor deviates from these protocols by failing to do what a reasonable doctor would do in a similar circumstances and a patient is harmed as a result, the doctor could be held liable for malpractice.

If you have questions about what may qualify as medical malpractice, an experienced attorney can help.