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Missed diagnosis and misdiagnosis: Understanding the difference

On Behalf of | Feb 12, 2024 | Medical Malpractice |

When a patient sees their doctor or seeks medical help at a hospital, they expect medical professionals to do everything in their power to uncover a patient’s injury or illness. When this doesn’t happen, a patient can suffer from severe injuries and illnesses. As a result, a patient could become a victim of medical malpractice. 

A patient who is still suffering from an injury or illness after seeking help from a medical professional may be a victim of a “missed diagnosis” or “misdiagnosis.” These two are very similar, but they happen in different ways. Here’s what you should know:

A medical professional failed to make a diagnosis

Many people, especially women, suffer from missed diagnoses. A missed diagnosis happens when a doctor doesn’t do any kind of medical evaluation. This is often done with the doctor saying something like “It’s all in your head.” This can happen because a doctor was negligent or because they didn’t believe a patient. As a result, the patient may continue to suffer from injuries or illnesses.

A medical professional confused a medical diagnosis

Medical professionals conduct so many different examinations because many illnesses have similar symptoms. For example, multiple sclerosis has many symptoms that could be confused for migraines or fibromyalgia. If a patient is diagnosed with the wrong illness, they may be given the wrong treatment. As a result, the untreated illness could get worse and the wrong treatment may cause other illnesses. 

Knowing whether a patient suffered a missed diagnosis or misdiagnosis can be hard, but it can help when seeking compensation for medical malpractice. Victims of medical malpractice may need to reach out for legal help to understand what they can do next.