The Price of Misdiagnosis and Failure to Diagnose

There is extensive training and responsibility behind a healthcare provider’s title. While none of us is in the habit of researching backgrounds or credentials of the healthcare providers we use, we place trust in the person behind the title.

Health care providers are trusted by us to treat us when we are sick and to diagnose our illnesses so that treatment can be rendered. A correct diagnosis is crucial for ensuring that we remain or regain a healthy body, mind, and spirit.

As much as we would hope that all patients receive a correct diagnosis of illnesses and diseases 100% of the time, this is unfortunately not reality. Healthcare providers occasionally misdiagnose or fail to diagnose signs and symptoms that can result in negative effects on our health. Although they are similar concepts, “misdiagnosis” and “failure to diagnose” are two different concepts with different negative effects on health.


If a healthcare provider documents that someone has a particular illness or disease when in fact it is a different disease, this is known as misdiagnosis. For example, a health care provider could diagnose a patient’s chest discomfort as indigestion from acid reflux when in fact the patient has a blockage in the main artery of the heart. There are many negative effects that can occur as a result of misdiagnosis including:

  • Receiving treatment for an illness that is not needed
  • A delay in treating the actual illness
  • Payment for treatment of a condition that is not present
  • Worsening health status or death

Failure to Diagnose

If a health care provider does not document an illness or disease that is present, this is known as a failure to diagnose. For example, a health care provider could diagnose a routine mammogram as normal when the patient actually has breast cancer. There are also many negative effects that can occur as a result of a failure to diagnose such as:

  • The illness is left untreated
  • Lost treatment options due to lack of early detection
  • Disease progression
  • Worsening health status or death

Because health care providers are in the business of caring for lives, this leaves little room for errors such as a misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose. If either of these issues occurs, the results will likely be mounting medical expenses and negative effects on health.

If you feel that you have been misdiagnosed or your doctor failed to diagnose a condition of disease, it is advisable to contact an attorney with experience in medical malpractice cases. Our goal is to provide you and your family with satisfaction and compensation for injuries you may have suffered. Call us today or fill out our online contact form and we will get back to you within 24 hours.