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Medical malpractice: misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis?

Medical mistakes are now the third leading cause of death among Americans, according to U.S. News & World Report. Errors by healthcare employees result in 250,000 deaths annually, which is around 10 percent of deaths in the United States each year.

Many of these deaths are the result of misdiagnosis and missed diagnosis. While they can be similar, it is important to understand the difference between the two forms of medical malpractice in order to help prevent them from occurring.


A misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor informs you that you have a condition that you do not have. Instead, you have another condition that your doctor has mistaken for something else. Not only can many illnesses become serious and even fatal if mistreated, but the wrong treatment your doctor prescribes can cause further damage to your health.

If you feel like your condition is not improving with the treatment plan your doctor prescribed, do not be afraid to ask for a second option. CBS News reported 40 percent of autopsies find the person died because of a misdiagnosis.

Missed diagnosis

A missed diagnosis means the doctor failed to diagnosis you with any condition at all. For example, a missed diagnosis can occur when a person goes in for a routine check-up and the doctor fails to notice signs of cancer or another serious disease that should have easily been detected.

A missed diagnosis can be very serious, because a person can continue living his or her life without knowing something might be terribly wrong. Don’t let your healthcare provider get away with telling you that your symptoms are in your head.

Being the victim of medical malpractice can have devastating and lasting consequences. If you or someone you love is a victim of a misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis, consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney to help pursue the justice you deserve.

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