Is Misdiagnosis Medical Malpractice? | Frequently Asked Questions

My Doctor Misdiagnosed What Was Wrong with Me. Is It Medical Malpractice?


Misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, or failure to diagnose can all amount to medical malpractice. When a faulty diagnosis of a patient’s medical condition is made, the error has the potential to cause serious injury, illness, and even death, making it possibly a case of medical malpractice.

Misdiagnosis, Delayed Diagnosis, and Failure to Diagnose

A mistake regarding your diagnosis—whether it be misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, or failure to diagnose—can result in different kinds of problems.

A misdiagnosis occurs when a physician incorrectly diagnoses you with the wrong disease or medical condition. This can result in problems if you start receiving treatment for a disease or condition you don’t have. While some cases of misdiagnosis can be minor (e.g. if your doctor prescribes you an allergy reliever when you really have a cold), others can have more severe consequences. Prescription-strength drugs often come with many side effects, and if you don’t actually have the disease or condition the drug is trying to treat, you may experience adverse side effects.

Delayed diagnosis occurs when a physician fails to correctly diagnose you but later amends his or her mistake. The consequences of delayed diagnosis vary in severity just like the consequences of misdiagnosis. A severe example would be the delayed diagnosis of ovarian cancer, a type of cancer in which early diagnosis is crucial to survival.

Failure to diagnose means exactly what it says: the physician does not diagnose you with a treatable condition or disease. If you are not diagnosed, you are unlikely to receive the medical treatment you need. This can have terrible consequences.

Is It Medical Malpractice?

Not all instances of misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, or failure to diagnose equal medical malpractice. If the doctor’s error is caught early and is corrected, the patient may avoid harmful health consequences from the mistake.

Identifying whether medical malpractice has occurred is not a decision you want to make on your own. The attorneys at Hensley Legal Group, PC, have the extensive experience needed to properly evaluate your potential medical malpractice claim.