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Experienced New England Attorneys

Misdiagnosis vs. Missed Diagnosis: Which is Worse?

old man looking distraught in hospital bed

When it comes to medical errors, misdiagnosis and missed diagnosis are both serious issues. The former occurs when a patient is incorrectly diagnosed with a condition, while the latter happens when a patient's condition is not diagnosed at all. Both of these errors can have drastic consequences for patients, so it is essential to understand the difference between them.

What is Misdiagnosis?

Misdiagnosis occurs when a patient is incorrectly diagnosed with a condition. This can happen for several reasons, including:

  • Incorrect medical tests.
  • Misinterpreting test results.
  • Simply not considering all possible diagnoses.

The consequences of misdiagnosis can be significant. Patients may receive unnecessary treatment that can cause them harm, or they may be denied effective treatment for their actual condition.

What is a Missed Diagnosis?

A missed diagnosis is similar to a misdiagnosis; however, a missed diagnosis happens when a patient's condition is not diagnosed at all. This can happen for a number of reasons, many of which are similar to a misdiagnosis, including incompetence and negligence. In some cases, doctors may not diagnose a patient because they suspect the patient is faking an illness and seeking drugs.

A missed diagnosis can also have severe consequences for patients. If a condition is not diagnosed, it can go untreated and progress to a more severe stage. This can lead to further medical complications and even death. A missed diagnosis can also cause emotional distress and financial hardship.

How Can I Prove Medical Malpractice

Neither medical error is worse than the other and, in some cases, it may not be considered medical malpractice because doctors are humans who make mistakes, too. However, if you believe that a misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis was a result of medical malpractice, there are four elements you must consider before filing a medical malpractice claim:

  • Doctor-Patient Relationship - If there is an established relationship between the physician and the patient, then the doctor owes the patient a particular duty of care.
  • Duty of Care Breached - The second element of medical malpractice arises when a doctor deviates from the standard of care. They may make decisions that other competent doctors may not.
  • Damages Suffered - You must show that you suffered economic or noneconomic damages, which may be especially apparent in cases of misdiagnosis and missed diagnoses.
  • Direct Result - Not only do you have to show that you suffered damages, but you must also prove that it resulted from the physician's breach of their duty of care.

An experienced attorney will know how to investigate the case and gather evidence to prove that the medical professional was at fault. They will also be able to negotiate with insurance companies and ensure that the victim's family receives the compensation they deserve.

If you were injured as a result of medical malpractice, call us today at (617) 404-3417 or fill out our form online for a free consultation.

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