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

Misdiagnosis and missed diagnosis explained

On Behalf of | Nov 23, 2023 | Medical Malpractice

It’s the responsibility of medical professionals, such as doctors and nurses, to do their utmost duty when evaluating and treating patients. When a patient sees their doctor because of a medical issue, they expect to find the cause of the problem and be given solutions. When a patient doesn’t get treated for their medical conditions, their issues could get worse and they may become victims of medical malpractice.

Medical malpractice means a medical professional was negligent of their duties, which caused injuries or death to a patient. Medical malpractice can start as early as the diagnosis. A patient could, for instance, experience a misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis. 

The two terms sound very similar and can create issues for patients over time, but the causes are different, here’s what you should know:

Were you misdiagnosed?

Doctors often use symptoms to determine what illnesses patients might be suffering from. They may use a rigorous amount of tests and evaluations before they come to any conclusion. However, many medical illnesses have similar symptoms and can lead to a misdiagnosis, which means the patient was diagnosed with an illness they don’t actually have. 

As a result, a patient may be prescribed the wrong treatment for an illness. The treatment could create other issues for the patient while they still suffer from the original illness that’s actually causing their symptoms.

Was a diagnosis missed?

Alternatively, a doctor may neglect their duties, ignore any symptom a patient is having, forgo any kind of evaluations or tests and jump to an immediate conclusion that a patient’s illness is “all in their head.” This is often an issue for many women. 

When a doctor dismisses a patient, the patient’s illness is never treated and can severely harm them. This kind of situation often results in a missed diagnosis, which means the patient receives no treatment at all, and their condition may drastically worsen as a result.

It’s important to understand the distinction between a misdiagnosis and a missed diagnosis when victims are seeking legal action against medical practitioners. Patients who understand how they suffered from medical malpractice may be able to right the wrongs done to them.

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