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Misdiagnosis and a missed diagnosis are not the same thing

On Behalf of | Dec 20, 2023 | Medical Malpractice |

Doctors and nurses are expected to do their job diligently to ensure patients get the care and treatment they need. If a patient is worried because they’re suddenly feeling sick or experiencing strange pain, then their doctor should evaluate their condition and give them a proper diagnosis and treatment. When this isn’t done correctly, a patient can suffer severe injuries and medical issues. As a result of the doctor’s or nurse’s negligence, a patient can become a victim of medical malpractice — and that can quickly become disastrous. 

When a patient isn’t given a proper diagnosis, then they could either be misdiagnosed or they could have a missed diagnosis. These two terms can be confusing because they sound alike, but they aren’t the same thing. Here’s what you should know about each:

What happens if you were given the wrong diagnosis?

Many medical conditions and illnesses have similar symptoms. As such, doctors have to practice extreme scrutiny to determine what a patient is afflicted by. Patients must often undergo many tests and evaluations before a doctor can give a clear diagnosis. 

Because of the similar symptoms of medical conditions, a doctor may wrongly diagnose an illness. This could happen if the tests were conducted improperly or because a doctor neglected to do a test. 

The wrong diagnosis may mean that a patient is given the wrong treatment for their illness. As a result, their original illness may worsen and the treatment may only harm the patient.

What happens if you were never given a diagnosis? 

Conversely, many doctors don’t do any kind of testing when a patient comes to them for help. As a result, the patient may never be diagnosed and treatment is never given, causing the illness to get worse. This often happens to women who are told that their illness is made up or “all in their head.”

Knowing whether a victim was misdiagnosed or had a missed diagnosis can greatly affect a legal claim. Victims may need to reach out for legal help when discussing their options.