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Medical Malpractice: Misdiagnosis and Delayed Diagnosis

Nov 13, 2023 | Medical Malpractice

Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis are two of the most common forms of medical malpractice. They can often lead to a worsening of the condition, which could otherwise have been avoided. In such cases, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit to hold the doctor accountable for their negligence — and recover the damages to which you are entitled. Importantly, while there are many similarities, it’s important to understand the difference between a misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis. 

What is a Misdiagnosis?

A misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor or other healthcare provider incorrectly diagnoses a patient. This can lead to serious complications or even death. When a misdiagnosis is the result of negligence, it can give rise to a medical malpractice lawsuit. Specifically, a misdiagnosis may constitute malpractice when it can be established that a medical provider should have diagnosed the patient correctly and to not do so was a deviation from accepted medical practice. .   

A misdiagnosis can occur due to:

  • Errors with testing — If a doctor fails to order the correct tests, misdiagnosis can occur.
  • Improper interpretation of test results — In the event a doctor does not have proper training to interpret test results or they do not properly review the results, they can be interpreted incorrectly and result in a misdiagnosis.   
  • Failure to spend enough time with patients — Misdiagnosis can occur due to a doctor’s lack of time spent with patients. 
  • Lack of follow up care — If a doctor does not take the time to follow up with a patient, they may be unaware of changes in their condition, leading to a misdiagnosis.
  • Miscommunication between providers — Often, a patient will see several medical providers. Poor communication between providers can lead to misunderstandings that lead to misdiagnosis and other serious medical issues that cause substantial harm.                         
  • Lack of experience — If a healthcare provider lacks the necessary training or experience, they may misdiagnose a patient.

In order to prevail in a misdiagnosis lawsuit, you will need to establish that the doctor owed you a duty of care, which they breached — causing you to suffer harm as a result. If your lawsuit is successful, you may be entitled to recover your damages, including compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.       

What is a Delayed Diagnosis?

Closely related to misdiagnosis — but not to be confused with it — is delayed diagnosis. Critically, a delayed diagnosis occurs when a doctor takes an unreasonably long time to identify a medical condition. This can prevent a patient from starting their course of treatment or beginning their medication in a timely manner. A delayed diagnosis can result in serious complications, the worsening of a condition, and adversely impact a patient’s chance of recovery.

There can be many reasons for a delayed diagnosis. A diagnosis may be delayed due to inaccurate tests, incompetence, understaffed facilities, and various other causes. While a delayed diagnosis doesn’t always constitute medical malpractice, it can when a doctor deviates from the accepted standard of care. If you have suffered the consequences of a delayed diagnosis due to a healthcare provider’s negligence, you may be entitled to recover your damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit.       

Contact an Experienced New York Medical Malpractice Attorney

The Edelsteins, Faegenburg & Brown, LLP is a New York personal injury firm that has been advocating for the victims of medical malpractice since 1937, including those who have been harmed as a result of a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. Handling every case with the personalized time and attention it deserves, we have earned a well-deserved reputation among our clients and colleagues for our integrity, candor, and skill. Contact us to schedule a free consultation at (212) 425-1999 today.




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