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Medical Malpractice: Diagnostic Errors

One way diagnostic errors can occur is if a medical professional receives inaccurate test results due to faulty equipment or human error.

When we go visit a doctor for a health concern, we trust them to be able to tell us exactly what is wrong and how to fix it. When a doctor misdiagnoses or even fails to diagnose a condition, it can potentially be very dangerous. A person’s condition can worsen or they can given the wrong medications that end up causing further injuries. It becomes an issue of medical malpractice when the doctor’s negligence is what led to the misdiagnosis. Here is what you need to know about diagnostic errors in relation to medical malpractice.

Types of Diagnostic Errors

There are a variety of different ways that a doctor can make diagnostic errors. Here are just a few:


  • Misdiagnosis: Diagnosing a patient with the wrong illness
  • Missed Diagnosis: Telling a patient that nothing is wrong with them when they actually do have an illness.
  • Delayed Diagnosis: The doctor makes the right diagnosis, but after a notable delay
  • Failure to diagnose a related disease: A doctor diagnoses one disease, but then fails to recognize other diseases that are related to it


Diagnostic errors can also occur as a result of inaccurate test results. This can be because of faulty equipment (which would place liability on the hospital itself) or human error such as using the wrong procedure, misreading the test, or contaminated samples. If this occurs, the fault may fall on to another medical professional such as the technician that performed the test.


Proving Medical Malpractice

A doctor isn’t automatically at fault legally when a diagnostic errors occurs because we are all human and make mistakes. In order for a diagnostic error to count as medical malpractice, the patient must prove three things:


  • A doctor-patient relationship existed: This is the simplest step of the process because a doctor-patient relationship starts once a patient sits down in a doctor’s office.
  • Negligence: You must prove that the doctor acted negligently and that is what led to the diagnostic error. This means that the treatment they provided didn’t meet the standard of care they are supposed to follow.
  • Injuries: The last thing the patient must prove is that the diagnostic error is what directly led to their injuries.



In order to show that a doctor was negligent when they made the diagnostic error, the differential diagnosis method must be looked at. This is the method doctors use to identify what is wrong with a patient. The doctor is supposed to make a list of possible diagnoses in order of probability and then test the strength of each one through various questions, tests, medical history evaluations, etc. In order for negligence to be proven, you have to prove that the doctor either didn’t include the correct diagnosis on the list (and any other competent doctor would have) or that the diagnosis was on the list, but they didn’t perform the proper tests to see how viable that option was.

Have You or a Loved One Suffered Injuries as a Result of Diagnostic Errors? Contact The Snyder Law Group Today

The Snyder Law Group, LLC, proudly represents clients throughout Maryland and Washington, D.C. Our experienced Baltimore attorneys understand the frustration that comes with an insurance company, medical professional, or other party that refuses to accept liability for negligent or reckless behavior. You can take heart in knowing there are talented and experienced lawyers ready to work for you. We are experienced in handling personal injury claims of medical malpractice or injury resulting from serious car and truck accidents, and have secured hundreds of millions in verdicts settlements*. Please visit our website,, for more information and follow us on Facebook, Twitter,Google +, and LinkedIn.


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This entry was posted on Thursday, August 30th, 2018 at 5:32 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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