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WhoCanISue.comMedical MalpracticeFailure to Diagnose

Find A Medical Malpractice Attorney For Delayed Diagnosis


One of the most prevalent types of misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose is a doctor’s failure to diagnose a disease or ailment. It can be terrifying and frustrating for patients who know they have symptoms, but don’t know what those symptoms mean.

When a medical provider’s failure to diagnose results in harm, a patient may decide to file a lawsuit. If you feel you have a failure to a diagnose claim, talk to a medical malpractice attorney in your area. In order to practice medicine, doctors agree to adhere to a recognized standard of care. If that agreement is breached by failure to diagnose a medical condition, the doctor should be held liable.

Medical malpractice lawsuits stemming from a failure to diagnose or delayed diagnosis frequently involve heart attacks, breast cancer, appendicitis, lung cancer or colon cancer, because swift and severe injury can result when these ailments are left untreated. Other undiagnosed conditions; such as, hypertension and diabetes may be more common, however.

What makes a diagnosis difficult to determine? Symptoms can be hard to pinpoint, a patient may be consulting the wrong specialist, or a patient may be afflicted with multiple medical problems, adding to the confusion. Also, the condition may be rare or atypical for the patient involved. Young women usually aren’t predisposed to heart attacks, for instance. Or a doctor may simply fail to explore all the possibilities, diagnosing heartburn, for example, when the patient is actually suffering a heart attack.

A missed diagnosis can occur in almost any medical condition. When a doctor tells you it’s “all in your head” or seems to be inventing a label for your condition, take the initiative and press further. You need to be your own best health care advocate.

Failure to diagnose illnesses such as cancer in a timely manner can mean the difference between life and death. Doctors must listen to their patients’ concerns, order proper tests, and refer the patient elsewhere, if need be. Cancer symptoms can resemble other conditions, especially to a health care provider who is not an expert. And when cancer spreads, a patient’s survival chances drop considerably. According to one study, more than 12 percent of U.S. cancer patients are initially misdiagnosed.

Failure to diagnose results in hundreds of medical malpractice lawsuits every year. Once a correct diagnosis is finally made, the condition may have worsened. On top of the high cost of medical treatment, patients and their families can be subjected to immense stress and, in tragic cases, grief.

Who Can Sue

Patients who believe they have been harmed by failure to diagnose can seek compensation for pain, medical costs and lost wages if they are able to prove that they have been injured by a medical provider, who should have been able to diagnose their condition but failed to. If you think you have a case, consult an experienced attorney without delay. A personal injury attorney has knowledge in both legal and medical matters.

Medical malpractice lawsuits can’t fix medical mistakes, of course. What they can do is help victims and their families in terms of financial relief and by giving them a sense of satisfaction for taking action.


Interesting Facts
  • Millions of Americans are currently living with undiagnosed conditions, according to medical research. Most of these illnesses and ailments are not life-threatening, but others can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated quickly.
  • The most serious diseases tend to be the ones that go undiagnosed the longest.
  • An estimated 1 million patients in the United States have undiagnosed cases of glaucoma.
  • Ovarian cancer presents a risk of going undiagnosed because women can go for months without symptoms. When symptoms occur, they may be mistaken for gastrointestinal issues.
  • Insurance companies can be held responsible for the failure to diagnose if they haven’t allowed testing and follow-up care.
Potential Recovery

Statistics show that cases of medical negligence and malpractice lawsuits are increasing. If you are considering seeking compensation, here are some settlements you may find encouraging.

In Connecticut, failure to diagnose and treat a 2-year-old’s recurrent brain tumor led to permanent brain damage. A settlement of $6.1 million was reached.
  • In New Jersey, a widow received a $950,000 settlement after a doctor failed to timely diagnose and treat her husband's chest wall cancer.
  • In Ohio, a $1 million settlement was reached after a patient died after failure to diagnose her pulmonary embolism.
  • In Pennsylvania, a $3.8 million settlement was reached after a patient suffered a stroke from failure to diagnose and treat bacterial endocarditis.
  • In New York, a $4.5 million settlement was achieved in the case of a 17-year-old boy whose doctors failed to timely diagnose appendicitis. As a result of a three-day surgery delay, the boy developed an abdominal infection that led to five other operations.
  • In Maryland, a jury found a doctor liable for a patient’s death from malignant melanoma and awarded the patient’s family $5.8 million.
  • In Illinois, a doctor’s failure to diagnose a woman’s acute hernia led to a $750,000 settlement. The woman suffered permanent injuries including permanent staph and sinus infections as a result of the failure to diagnose.
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WhoCanISue.comMedical MalpracticeFailure to Diagnose

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