Failure to diagnose refers to the failure of a medical professional to correctly diagnose a medical condition. Failure to diagnose, delayed diagnosis, and other types of misdiagnosis are common causes of medical malpractice lawsuits.

A doctor’s failure to diagnose a condition in a patient can result in severe or even fatal consequences. Unfortunately, the failure to diagnose a condition is not uncommon. In fact, one Harvard study showed that diagnostic errors kill about 80,000 people each year and account for 20-40 percent of all doctor mistakes.

Failure to Diagnose Signs & Symptoms

Although the failure to diagnose a condition does not always constitute medical malpractice, doctors have a duty to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of certain conditions. If doctors find symptoms present that they cannot diagnose, they are responsible for determining what the root cause is.

In instances where a patient has high risk factors for developing certain conditions, a doctor should be aware of those conditions, monitor if the patient’s risk has increased, and understand that the patient has a higher likelihood of developing those conditions.

Failure to Diagnose Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Medical malpractice lawsuits stemming from the failure to diagnose a medical condition occur most often from:

  • failure to diagnose cancer
  • failure to diagnose a heart attack
  • failure to diagnose a pulmonary embolism
  • failure to diagnose appendicitis
  • failure to diagnose bacterial meningitis

These are not the medical conditions that go undiagnosed most often, but are simply the ones that lead to the most severe injuries when doctors fail to diagnose them (and hence to  higher dollar awards in medical malpractice lawsuits). The failure to diagnose other serious conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension, is very common, but the failure to diagnose these conditions does not lead as rapidly to severe injury.

Our Experienced New York Medical Malpractice Lawyers

If you or a loved one has suffered serious injury because of a doctor’s failure to diagnose a medical condition, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact us today for a free and confidential case evaluation.

Published November 17, 2011 by