Valenzuela Law Firm, PA | Trial Attorney
Attorney Henry E. Valenzuela

What is a medical misdiagnosis, and how does it happen?

On Behalf of | Sep 27, 2022 | Misdiagnosis

When you visit the doctor’s office, you hope they will properly diagnose your condition and administer the right treatment, so you can get back on your feet and carry on with your daily life. And most often, this is how it goes. Unfortunately, there are times when a medical provider fails to properly diagnose a dangerous ailment. This is known as a misdiagnosis.

When the doctor fails to properly diagnose your condition, leading to a wrong diagnosis or diagnostic error, the consequences can be devastating. This is because you might end up getting treated for the wrong illness while the real problem spreads and gets worse.

How does a misdiagnosis happen?

A healthcare provider has a duty to provide patients under their care with utmost level of care. Unfortunately, certain conditions tend to have overlapping symptoms. When a misdiagnosis occurs, two things will happen:

  • You will not receive the treatment you require
  • You will receive the treatment you do not need

Here are three common causes of misdiagnosis.

Doctor inexperience

Sometimes, the healthcare provider may not have the experience they need to recognize the symptoms of certain conditions, know when to request for further tests or know how to interpret test results. Any of these can lead to a misdiagnosis.

High workload

When a healthcare facility is understaffed, it is highly likely the doctor to patient ratio will be quite high. This means that your provider doesn’t take enough time talking with you or reviewing your symptoms. As a result, they may rush you through your appointment without fully understanding what you are dealing with. They may also jump to conclusions without carefully considering what they might be overlooking.

Lack of diagnostic equipment

Faulty or broken medical equipment can mean incorrect test results. Also, if the medical facility simply doesn’t have the necessary equipment for testing or checking test results, a misdiagnosis is likely if they don’t consult with another clinic, lab or hospital that does.

A misdiagnosis can have far-reaching implications for you and your family. Find out how you can pursue a medical malpractice claim if you are a victim of a misdiagnosis.