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How Does Misdiagnosis Affect You?

A large number of medical malpractice lawsuits stem from the misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of a medical condition, illness, or injury. When a doctor’s diagnosis error leads to incorrect treatment, delayed treatment, or no treatment at all, a patient’s condition can worsen or in extreme cases, lead to fatality.

Was The Doctor Negligent?

 A misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis itself is not evidence of negligence.

 Skillful doctors can and do make diagnostic errors even when using reasonable care. The key is determining whether the doctor acted competently, which involves an evaluation of what the doctor did and did not do in arriving at a diagnosis.

 In a medical malpractice case based on a diagnostic error, the patient must prove that a doctor in a similar specialty, under similar circumstances, would not have similarly misdiagnosed the patient’s illness or condition.

Errors In Diagnostic Tests

Sometimes, a doctor may fail to correctly diagnosis a condition because they relied on inaccurate results from laboratory tests, radiology films, or other types of tests. This can happen in one of two ways:

  • The diagnostic equipment was faulty;

  • Human error (for example, contaminations of samples).


In these instances, the perpetrator of the human error or the hospital supplying the facilities may be the one liable for medical negligence.

Again, the patient must prove that the error was the result of negligence.

Did The Misdiagnosis Inflict Harm?

The patient must also prove that the doctor’s negligent misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis caused regression of the patient’s injury or condition.


In the rare case that a doctor misdiagnoses a patient with a condition or illness that the patient does not have, the patient may also be able to prove harm in the form of anxiety, stress, medical problems, and expenses due to unnecessary treatment and other associated claims.

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