Failure To Diagnose Is Medical Malpractice


Patients tend to trust their doctors because they are experts in their field.  However, even the best of doctors can make a mistake.  These mistakes include a failure to treat a patient or to provide incorrect treatment.

Generally, if there is a delay or failure to diagnose a disease, and the patient is injured or the disease progresses further than it would have had there been a timely diagnosis, the medical professional who did not properly diagnose the patient could be held liable for any injuries that resulted.  The majority of doctors have been trained to think and act by establishing a “differential diagnosis.”  This is when the doctor lists, in descending order of probability, impressions or “differing” diagnoses of what could be causing the patients symptoms.

When determining whether a misdiagnosis constitutes malpractice, the question to ask is what diagnoses a reasonably prudent doctor would have considered under similar circumstances.  If the doctor did not consider the patient’s actual diagnosis on their differential diagnosis list, or the diagnosis was listed but the doctor failed to rule it out with additional tests or criteria, then the doctor has a higher chance of being sued for malpractice.

When misdiagnosis occurs, patient may be treated for a disease or condition he or she does not have.  The treatment or medication they are receiving may be what causes the patient harm, in addition to the harm that the condition itself caused while it was left untreated.

One of the most common ways in which a doctor is negligent and fails to treat a medical condition is when they have dismissed a symptom of a patient as temporary, minor, or in some way not worthy of treatment.  When this occurs the underlying condition or injury may worsen, resulting in further harm or injury.

Even when a doctor has correctly diagnosed a disease or condition, she or she may still fail to treat it properly.  In other cases, negligence may result when a doctor attempts a “novel” treatment and that treatment fails while the conventional treatment would have succeeded.

But what do you think?  I would love to hear from you!  Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at  You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at