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Failure to Properly Diagnose

Failure to properly diagnose a medical condition is one of the most common New York medical malpractice claims. It occurs when a physician fails to identify and appropriately treat a medical condition, either by not identifying the problem at all or misidentifying a problem, and fails to take the proper steps to determine the nature of the patient’s medical problem. There are numerous reasons as to why a physician might fail to properly diagnose a condition:

• Improperly conducting a physical examination
• Failing to perform regular screenings, especially in high-risk patients
• Failing to recognize potential indications of a problem
• Failing to pay attention to and act on a patient’s complaints appropriately
• Failing to order appropriate tests when indicated
• Misinterpreting test results
• Misdiagnosing a tumor as benign
• Failing to provide adequate follow-up care, including following up on test results or ordering additional tests
• Delaying referral of a patient to a specialist

Failure to diagnose a condition early can impact the outcome of treatment or if treatment is even an option, which makes early and accurate diagnosis of problems extremely important.

Conditions Physicians Commonly Misdiagnose or Fail to Diagnose

Physicians most commonly fail to diagnose or misdiagnose the following:
• Cancers, particularly of the breast, colon, prostate, lung, ovaries, cervix, testicles, kidneys, esophagus or skin
• Allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis
• Diabetic reactions, including ketoacidosis and diabetic coma
• Meningitis
• Stroke
• Lyme disease
• Parasitic infections of the gastrointestinal tract
• Periodontal disease