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When is misdiagnosis malpractice?

The human body is a complicated place. Even with years of training, diagnosis can be challenging since different people can experience the same symptoms but have different diagnoses.

Both you and your doctor want to figure out the right diagnosis so that you can work together on a treatment plan. Unfortunately, misdiagnosis happens, but it is not always a case for malpractice.

These are the factors that make a misdiagnosis, malpractice.

The failure must have caused your injury

Many cases of malpractice that include a misdiagnosis come with a serious injury. The wrong diagnosis can mean that you do not receive the treatment you need, or, in some cases, any treatment at all.

When you have a healthcare concern, keep track of the timeline. Your doctor is taking notes about your health, and you should, too. Write down events, such as:

  • Ordered tests
  • Change in diagnosis
  • Change in treatment or medication
  • New or worsening symptoms

Your notes are not only for making a malpractice claim. They will be helpful if you need a second opinion or if there is an issue with your insurance coverage.

The method matters

Getting to a diagnosis is often a process of elimination. Since many people can have the same symptoms but a different diagnosis, in a medical malpractice claim, it matters how the doctor came to the wrong conclusion.

Part of a malpractice claim is how your doctor came to the wrong conclusion. In most claims, the doctor did not consider the right diagnosis or considered it but did not do the correct tests to confirm it.

During your diagnosis and treatment, try to understand as much as possible about why your doctor is taking a particular path. When you and your doctor have honest communication, and you participate in the diagnosis process, you can help your doctor consider every possibility.


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