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What are misdiagnoses and missed diagnoses?

On Behalf of | Aug 23, 2023 | Medical Malpractice

Medical professionals such as doctors and nurses have to undergo a rigorous amount of training to safely assess medical conditions, prescribe medications and perform safe operations on patients. For this to happen, patients often have to give their full trust in these professionals to get the care they require. It often hurts patients’ trust in medical professionals when medical malpractice occurs. 

Two kinds of medical malpractice that occur are misdiagnosis and missed diagnosis. The two terms seem very similar, but they occur in two different ways. Here’s what you should know:

Incorrectly diagnosed conditions

To determine the help patients need, doctors should perform tests and evaluations. Once enough tests are done, medical professionals should have enough information to diagnose the medical condition and prescribe a treatment or medicine. 

However, many medical illnesses share common symptoms and doctors may misdiagnose patients’ conditions. As a result, the wrong treatment may be prescribed. Patients may then develop worse symptoms from their current medical conditions and experience additional symptoms from the prescribed treatment.

No diagnosis at all

Alternatively, people may not be diagnosed after seeking the help of a medical professional for their medical conditions. This can happen when a doctor dismisses someone’s condition and doesn’t make any diagnosis. For example, women are often told their medical conditions are “all in their heads,”  leading to a missed diagnosis and worsening symptoms. 

A missed diagnosis can also happen after a patient receives testing and evaluations. The testing and evaluations may not lead to any conclusive results. As a result, there was no diagnosis made. 

Victims of missed diagnoses and misdiagnoses often suffer from severe medical conditions and don’t receive any medical treatments until it’s too late. It may help victims to learn about their legal rights when seeking compensation for medical malpractice.