Missed diagnosis vs. a misdiagnosis: what to know

All doctors in Georgia and across the United States must follow a basic standard of care. Laws allow you to file a medical malpractice claim against doctors who cause you harm by deviating from this standard. Two common types of medical malpractice are a misdiagnosis and a missed diagnosis.

Missed diagnosis vs. misdiagnosis

Statistics place the rate of misdiagnoses and missed diagnoses at 5% for outpatients. A misdiagnosis occurs when the doctor finds a condition but guesses the wrong one. For example, the doctor may diagnosis you with asthma when you show symptoms of bronchitis. A missed diagnosis, or a delayed diagnosis, means telling the doctor your symptoms, but they fail to diagnose a condition.

The most commonly misdiagnosed conditions or missed conditions are known as the big three: cancer, infections, and vascular conditions. Misdiagnoses often occurs because the illnesses or diseases have symptoms that overlap with one another. Sometimes, the symptoms present differently between men and women, or some people may not show symptoms, causing delays.

Steps to take if you think malpractice has occurred

A delay in diagnosis or treatment could make your condition worse or even be fatal. Once the doctor finds a condition or the right one, you’ll likely need other procedures to correct it.

However, a medical malpractice claim requires plaintiffs to mitigate damages to avoid fraud accusations. If your doctor doesn’t seem to think anything is wrong, you may need a second opinion, which can be useful in court. Don’t stop following your doctor’s orders, visit an ER when needed, and keep records.

A missed diagnosis or misdiagnosis can impact your future health, but not every mistake means medical malpractice has occurred. Doctors will try to use every excuse, so you need a good defense team to help prove your case.