Failure to Diagnose Attorney


Tulsa Failure to Diagnose Attorney

There are many types of medical malpractice committed in the United States, but the most common are errors in diagnosis—misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, and failure to diagnose.

Misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose medical conditions and illnesses prevent patients from receiving the care they require. The consequences can be dire and even fatal. The result of a medical procedure that went wrong might result in you becoming injured, sick, or not recovering as you should as a result of a misdiagnosis.

Common Medical Diagnostic Errors

According to a John Hopkins study, diagnostic errors accounted for the vast majority of medical malpractice claims and caused the most severe harm to patients, even more so than surgical errors or medication errors.

Doctors must provide care according to a certain standard. It is not expected of them to be perfect, but they are expected to practice their profession with care, attention, and knowledge.

There are several ways a doctor can fail to meet this standard:

  • They can make an incorrect diagnosis.
  • Partially correct but insufficient diagnoses are also possible. For example, if a patient has two illnesses, a doctor who correctly diagnoses one but not the other would be misdiagnosing the patient.
  • A misdiagnosis can also occur if a doctor identifies a disease without providing the necessary care before it is too late.
Common Errors in Misdiagnosis

A misdiagnosis can occur in a variety of ways, particularly in a busy medical setting. Traumatic injuries, chronic illnesses, cancers, and more can all be misdiagnosed by a negligent medical professional. Below, we discuss some common types of misdiagnosis claims we handle, but this list is by no means comprehensive. If you or a loved one have been misdiagnosed, reach out to our team immediately.

Common Errors in Misdiagnosis

Doctors find diagnosing cancer difficult. Cancer manifests itself differently in each patient, showing a variety of symptoms. Physicians often diagnose cancer incorrectly because these symptoms are similar to other illnesses and conditions that have no connection to cancer.

Unfortunately, no doctor is perfect. It doesn’t matter how carefully and deliberately they are; they will still make mistakes. This includes misdiagnosing breast cancer.

Breast cancer misdiagnoses aren’t well documented, but case reports and anecdotes suggest it’s quite common. Medical diagnostic errors can range anywhere between 5% and 28%, according to some estimates by the BMJ Quality & Safety Journal.

Prostate cancer

This is one of the most common types of cancer. During Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, we bring attention to ways to combat this threat.

Throughout the month, we should take extra precautions to protect ourselves and our loved ones from this horrible illness. Making men aware of their health issues can help them make informed decisions about their health.

Unfortunately, prostate cancer is often misdiagnosed or not detected early enough. According to a BBC report, one study found that half of the men who were told they had a less serious form of prostate cancer had quite advanced cancer.

Tumors may cause no health problems for some men for years. A man’s cancer can be fatal if not diagnosed early, especially if it’s aggressive.

Skin cancer

Skin cancer is the most prevalent type of cancer in the United States, and it is often misdiagnosed as well. Overexposure to the sun or other ultraviolet light is the most common cause of skin cancer.

A weakened immune system or exposure to toxic substances can also contribute to an increased risk of skin cancer, even in areas where ultraviolet light does not normally penetrate. The epidermis, or the top layer of skin cells, is where skin cancer begins.

Doctors are increasingly misdiagnosing skin cancer. Skin cancer is often misdiagnosed as eczema or another less serious condition. In the absence of treatment, cancer can continue to progress if the patient suffers a misdiagnosis, a delayed diagnosis, or undiagnosed cancer.

Heart attack

To reduce the risk of muscle death and scarring, heart attacks must be treated within an hour of the first signs. Misdiagnosis is often fatal and thousands of heart attacks are diagnosed incorrectly every year.

If an incorrect diagnosis worsens a heart attack victim’s condition, they might have a medical malpractice claim.

Heart attack misdiagnosis is not only caused by similar symptoms. Health care professionals often overlook victims who do not fit the profile they expect. Because of this, young people and women are frequently misdiagnosed with heart attacks. The risk of heart attacks increases in women more than it did previously.

A misdiagnosis can be caused by:

  • An inadequate medical history
  • Inadequate physical examination
  • Failure to rule out heart attacks in patients who appear to be healthy
  • Young patients are not screened for heart attacks
  • Female patients are not screened for heart attacks
  • Lack of timely and appropriate testing
  • Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of heart attack
  • Inadequate consultation with cardiac specialists
  • Inadequate reading of the EKG
  • Errors from the laboratory

You may be able to file a malpractice claim when a physician fails to recognize symptoms, perform appropriate tests, or act upon medical tests.

An experienced Tulsa failure to diagnose attorney can help you determine if your condition was not diagnosed correctly because of a physician error by reviewing your medical records.


The meninges surround the spinal cord and brain and become inflamed due to meningitis. Meningitis can also be caused by bacteria besides viruses. Meningitis can be caused by about 50 types of bacteria, according to the Meningitis Research Foundation. Most commonly, meningococcal bacteria are responsible.

It is possible to misdiagnose meningitis in babies and young children. Children and babies often overlook symptoms of bacterial meningitis. In an infant, symptoms such as a stiff neck and headache can be difficult to identify.

Misdiagnosis of bacterial meningitis as viral or even strep throat can delay appropriate treatment for people of all ages. If the appropriate diagnostic tests are not ordered or the symptoms are not recognized, the diagnosis may be delayed.

A lumbar puncture is necessary for people who have meningitis. Cerebrospinal fluid is collected from the spine and tested to confirm a diagnosis following the puncture. The prognosis is often worse if a lumbar puncture is delayed.

If a diagnosis is delayed even by a few hours, bacterial meningitis can affect a patient’s chances of surviving. Approximately 12% more people died from bacterial meningitis due to a one-hour delayed diagnosis, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases.

How Medical Diagnostic Errors Happen

Most misdiagnoses, delayed diagnoses, and missed diagnoses are caused by medical negligence or error. Examples of diagnostic errors include:

  • Inadequate communication between medical departments
  • Lack of experience, overconfidence, and/or lack of proper training
  • Patients’ symptoms being ignored
  • Not ordering timely diagnostic tests
  • Misinterpreting lab results
  • Failing to consider a patient’s health history
  • Not spending enough time with patients
  • Not following up properly
Liability in a Medical Diagnostic Error

Liability can be difficult to establish in cases involving diagnostic mistakes, as it is in any medical malpractice case.

The first step is to prove that your medical provider failed to provide an acceptable level of care, which resulted in a misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, or missed diagnosis.

There are some cases in which the medical provider who made the mistake could be legally responsible for the patient’s injuries and damages; in other cases, the hospital or medical facility where the provider works may be responsible.

If you believe that your injuries or the death of a loved one were caused by a diagnostic error, you should consult a skilled and knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyer such as Graves McLain Injury Lawyers. In the legal process, our Tulsa misdiagnosis attorneys can provide you with the answers to your questions.

Failure to Diagnose Statistics to Know

Diagnosis errors are one of the biggest safety problems in healthcare today since they cause the most harm. Some statistics to consider include:

  • Diagnostic errors represent a major public health problem, impacting every consumer at least once in their lifetime, sometimes with devastating results, according to a 2015 report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
  • In U.S. hospitals alone, wrong or delayed diagnoses cause 40,000 to 80,000 deaths each year and are the leading cause of death.
  • More than 12 million Americans are adversely affected by diagnostic errors every year, and one-third of those patients may suffer serious harm, dwarfing all other medical errors combined.
  • By improving diagnosis accuracy and timeliness, over $100 billion a year may be saved from cost-ineffective testing, incorrect treatments, and malpractice lawsuits.
  • Most reported medical errors are the result of an incorrect diagnosis.
  • Surgical mistakes and medication overdoses did not account for the majority of malpractice claims, and diagnostic errors caused the most severe patient harm.
  • Federal funding for research into this problem remains minimal, with only a few million dollars per year allocated to the cause despite the enormous consequences of wrong or delayed diagnoses.
Call a Tulsa Failure to Diagnose Attorney Today

It is not uncommon for law firms to do almost anything to avoid a trial, even if it means settling for less than their client deserves.

A Tulsa failure to diagnose attorney can help you determine whether you are eligible to file a claim and offer advice on how to go about getting the compensation and justice you deserve. Contact us today to get a no-risk consultation.

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