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What Is Missed Diagnosis?

What Is Missed Diagnosis?

Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider fails to provide proper medical care, causing harm to a patient. When it comes to missed diagnosis, medical malpractice can occur if a healthcare provider fails to diagnose a condition that could have been diagnosed if proper diagnostic tests were performed.  

What is Missed Diagnosis? 

Missed diagnoses refer to situations where medical professionals do not diagnose or address a patient’s condition. This failure can be the result of medical staff’s inability to recognize the correct symptoms or diagnosis of a medical condition or disease, resulting in delayed treatment or incorrect management of the patient's symptoms. 

Missed Diagnosis vs. Misdiagnosis 

A missed diagnosis refers to the inability of medical professionals to recognize the correct diagnosis, while a misdiagnosis occurs when incorrect diagnoses are given to patients. Both missed diagnoses and misdiagnoses are common medical errors that can significantly affect a patient's wellbeing. 

The Impact of Missed Diagnosis on Your Health 

The possible consequences of missed diagnoses are devastating for both patients and medical professionals involved. For patients, a missed diagnosis can lead to severe health complications, prolonged hospitalization, and even fatalities. The emotional and financial burden of missed diagnoses on patients and their families can also be overwhelming. 

Patients who experience missed diagnosis may require additional medical treatment or surgery, which can be expensive and time-consuming. In some cases, missed diagnosis can lead to permanent disability or death. 

Protecting Yourself from Missed Diagnosis and Medical Malpractice 

There are steps you can take to protect your health and your rights. One of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of missed diagnosis is to be an active participant in your healthcare. This means asking questions, sharing information about your medical history, and reporting any changes in your symptoms to your healthcare provider. You should also advocate for yourself and seek a second opinion if you are not comfortable with the care you are receiving. 

Common Causes of Missed Diagnosis  

Missed diagnosis can be caused by a variety of negligent actions including:  

  1. Lack of communication. Poor communication between healthcare professionals, such as doctors and nurses, can be a major contributing factor to a missed diagnosis. When important information is not shared or adequately documented, it can lead to an incorrect or delayed diagnosis. This underscores the importance of clear communication among the medical team responsible for treating a patient.  

  2. Human error. Despite advanced medical technology, humans are still prone to error. Misreading or misinterpreting test results is a common mistake that can lead to a missed diagnosis. Additionally, healthcare professionals may overlook certain symptoms, attributes, or risk factors and thus, not reach a correct diagnosis.  

  3. Misleading symptoms. Certain illnesses or conditions have symptoms that are easily confused with other ailments, which can lead to a missed diagnosis. For example, symptoms like shortness of breath and chest pain can be indicative of conditions like heart failure, anxiety, or even asthma. Additionally, a patient may present with multiple symptoms that lead doctors and healthcare professionals down the wrong diagnostic path.  

  4. Limited exposure. When doctors have limited exposure to rare diseases or conditions, they are less likely to make accurate diagnoses. This could be because certain conditions may only affect a small population, or the medical literature is still evolving. Not being informed may result in a missed diagnosis, which negatively affects the patient.  

  5. Rushed care. Sadly, doctors and other healthcare professionals may feel the pressure of a busy schedule, which leads to rushed care. In other cases, doctors may be guilty of overprescribing treatment options without taking adequate time to properly assess a patient's condition. Either way, rushed or over-prescribed care can lead to a missed diagnosis. 

Get Legal Help  

In New Mexico, there are strict deadlines for filing medical malpractice lawsuits, so it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. If you or a loved one have suffered damages because of a missed diagnosis, Michael Doyle, Attorney at Law can help you understand your legal rights and options and pursue compensation.  

Contact our firm online or via phone at (505) 219-2176 to schedule an initial consultation.  


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