What to Do If Your Doctor Failed to Diagnose You: A Guide to Malpractice Claims

doctor consoling patient after x-ray shows failed diagnosis

If you have been the victim of medical malpractice, the attorneys at Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C., can fight for the compensation you deserve. We represent patients who suffer harm due to medical negligence involving the failure to provide a correct diagnosis or a timely diagnosis of a patient’s condition. A misdiagnosis lawsuit could arise from a variety of circumstances, such as a delayed cancer diagnosis, diagnostic errors in a hospital lab, a surgeon’s failure to recognize complications, errors in the emergency room, and much more.

Our recent medical malpractice results include a $15 million awarded by a Philadelphia jury to a child who suffered kidney damage, a $14 million settlement for a client who suffered brain damage during an endovascular surgical procedure, and a $5 million settlement for failure to diagnose meningitis.Contact us today for a free consultation about your legal options if you believe your doctor failed to diagnose your medical condition and you suffered harm because of it. You could be entitled to seek compensation for your medical bills, lost income, pain, suffering, and more.

How a Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Attorney Can Help

Filing a medical malpractice claim can be overwhelming, confusing, and often disheartening for individuals without relevant legal knowledge and experience pursuing these types of cases. When you work with our medical malpractice attorneys in Philadelphia, you can hand over all the challenging legal work to dedicated professionals who can handle your case while you focus on your recovery.

Our medical malpractice lawyers can help you by:

  • Investigating the incident
  • Consulting with expert witnesses in the medical profession
  • Calculating the total value of your losses
  • Negotiating for a fair settlement from the responsible party’s insurance company
  • Taking the negligent medical professional or institution to court if they will not offer a reasonable settlement

What Is a Failure to Diagnose?

Failure to diagnose is when a medical professional or team does not recognize and identify a set of symptoms that indicate a severe condition or disease. As a result, the patient will experience unnecessary suffering due to a potentially fatal delay in appropriate medical treatment.

While not all instances of a failure to diagnose provide grounds for a lawsuit, here are some scenarios that could make a patient eligible for compensation:

  • A doctor fails to refer a patient to a relevant specialist
  • A medical professional misinterprets lab test results
  • A physician does not investigate what might be causing reported symptoms
  • A nurse does not properly consult with the patient about their symptoms
  • A specialist fails to conduct diagnostic tests for a particular condition
  • A medical team does not follow up with a patient properly.

Those are just a few examples of potential ways medical malpractice could result from a failure to diagnose a medical condition. Our lawyers are ready to analyze your specific situation to determine whether you might have a valid medical malpractice claim.

What Is the Difference Between Failure to Diagnose and Misdiagnosis?

While failure to diagnose and misdiagnosis are related medical errors, there are some key differences:

  • A failure to diagnose occurs when a healthcare provider fails to recognize that a patient has a medical condition and does not offer a diagnosis. This often happens because symptoms are overlooked, testing is not ordered, or a diagnostic error occurs.
  • A misdiagnosis occurs when a healthcare provider incorrectly diagnoses a patient with a medical condition they do not actually have based on symptoms, test results, or other factors. In some cases, a patient may be misdiagnosed with a minor illness when they actually have a much more severe condition. That could lead to life threatening harm from failure to receive much needed treatments.

Both errors can have the same result: a delay in proper treatment and unnecessary harm suffered by the patient. However, they often arise from different root causes in the diagnostic process. Understanding this difference is critical when building a malpractice case to show the specific way in which the healthcare professional violated the duty they owed their patient.

Serious Consequences of Failing to Diagnose

Failing to properly diagnose a patient’s medical condition promptly can allow it to progress silently, leading to:

  • Disease advancement – Many illnesses will rapidly spread if treatment is not swiftly initiated. Cancer is a prime example where earlier intervention is linked to more favorable outcomes.
  • Emergency complications – Undiagnosed infections may trigger sepsis, organ damage, or other life-threatening systemic issues as the underlying infection rages unchecked.
  • Permanent disabilities – Brain tumors, spinal injuries, heart attacks or strokes can lead to permanent damage or loss of essential functions if they compress pathways for too long before diagnosis.
  • Death – Ultimately, the longer any serious illness goes undiagnosed and untreated, the higher a patient’s risk of dying prematurely. A wrongful death lawsuit may be an option for surviving family members in these tragic circumstances.

What Conditions Are Commonly Undiagnosed?

Some illnesses have a higher chance than others of going undiagnosed. Some examples of medical conditions that often go undiagnosed or result in the wrong diagnosis or a delayed diagnosis include:

  • Asthma
  • Breast cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Fetal distress
  • Heart attacks
  • Lung cancer
  • Lymph node inflammation
  • Melanoma
  • Meningitis
  • Staph infection
  • Stroke
  • Ruptured brain aneurysm

What Do I Have to Prove in a Failure to Diagnose Case

To successfully prove a failure to diagnose and receive compensation, three key elements must be established:

  • Breach of standard of care – Healthcare providers must offer the same quality of diagnostics and care that a competent doctor or other medical professional would supply under similar circumstances. You must prove that the medical professional violated the standard of care.
  • Causation – There must be a direct causal link between breaching the standard of care by failing to diagnose and the harm you have suffered. Close timing between emerging symptoms, lack of diagnosis, and disease advancement could strengthen causation arguments.
  • Damages – You must have suffered calculable financial and personal losses due to the failure to diagnose. That could include higher healthcare costs, worse health outcomes, lost income, disability, pain, and suffering.

With sound evidence proving each of the above elements, victims can make a strong claim that they suffered the effects of medical malpractice and deserve to be adequately compensated . Our attorneys can help assemble the required materials.

Potential Compensation in Failure to Diagnose Cases

In a successful medical malpractice case, victims of failure to diagnose or an incorrect diagnosis may recover compensation for:

  • Medical expenses, including all hospital and treatment bills related to the now-advanced condition and complications
  • Rehabilitation and at-home care costs
  • Special medical equipment purchase
  • Income losses and reduced earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Contact Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg, & Jeck, P.C.

Suffering from an undiagnosed disease or condition can cause untold distress, pain, and anxiety. After learning that a medical professional should have been able to diagnose an ailment but failed to do so, many people also feel a burning sense of injustice. You deserve an opportunity to hold the at-fault party accountable by seeking compensation for the losses you have suffered.

The experienced legal team at Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C., has been helping victims of medical malpractice in Philadelphia for decades. We have the necessary knowledge about the MCARE Act and patient rights in Pennsylvania. We want to help you pursue the favorable outcome you deserve.

Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you.