Is a Missed Diagnosis Considered Medical Malpractice?

by Jeffrey J. Downey, Esq

In Maryland, diagnostic mistakes are common blunders in the medical field, including neglecting to diagnose a patient’s condition, diagnosing the incorrect disease in a patient, and/or delaying the diagnosis of a patient’s condition. Diagnostic mistakes of all kinds are included in medical malpractice. Failure to order appropriate imaging studies to diagnosis cancer or other medical problems could result in the failure to make a proper diagnosis.

Diagnostic errors are often the subject of medical malpractice lawsuits. So, to help you pursue compensation if you sustain injuries due to a misdiagnosis, you should speak with a medical malpractice attorney in Maryland.  Many malpractices cases would not occur if doctors had been more cautious.  If you want to hold the at-fault doctor accountable for your harm due to a missed diagnosis, contact an experienced attorney to investigate your case. When considering hiring a Maryland Malpractice lawyer, consider what other clients have said about the Law Office of Jeffrey J. Downey. Link (

Cases Of Missed Diagnosis Considered Medical Malpractice

In Maryland, a missed diagnosis is considered medical malpractice if the mistake shows that the physician did not provide the appropriate standard of care. The state’s malpractice laws require doctors to follow standards that a reasonably prudent physician would follow for their field or specialty.  In most cases, a medical or related expert will be necessary to establish negligence or a breach in the standard of care.  In addition to showing a breach in the standard of care, one must prove that the breach caused harm to the patient.

A missed diagnosis could lead to accusations of medical malpractice if another doctor provided a correct and timely diagnosis in similar circumstance. Missed diagnoses that constitute medical malpractice include the following examples:

Pulmonary Embolism or Cardiac problem, Missed Diagnosis

Sometimes a heart problem cannot be detected with a simple stress test.  Pulmonary embolisms can also be missed as a diagnosis.

You should go to the hospital if you experience dizziness, heart palpitations, or chest pain. Sometimes ER and other doctors may not make a definite diagnosis after examining you and referring you to a lab work. The doctor could conclude that you merely have heartburn and sends you home with a prescription for an over-the-counter remedy.

You are brought back to the hospital after many weeks of fainting. A separate physician examines you and finds that you have a pulmonary embolism, which the prior physician failed to diagnose, leading to long-term consequences. Under these facts you would likely have a viable medical malpractice case if the missed diagnosis can be linked to damages.

Broken Bone Missed Diagnosis

If you fall and hurt your wrist, you must get to the hospital’s emergency room (ER) immediately. The emergency physician may take an X-ray. After reviewing it, they may determine that you just have soft tissue damage and no broken bones. But a few weeks later, you find that your injured wrist has not healed, so you make an appointment with your family physician.  The doctor now orders a CT scan which shows the broken bone. In this instance, the emergency physician’s failure to diagnose could be considered malpractice.

Cancer Missed Diagnosis

You could visit your primary care physician yearly for a general health examination. But one day, you notice that you are more exhausted than usual and start having trouble swallowing and eating. You choose to consult with a different physician because you have never experienced significant health issues, and that physician determines that you have stage 3 throat cancer.

If your primary physician did not do a proper work up for cancer, you have a medical malpractice case, especially where the delay in diagnosis resulted in the cancer becoming worse or untreatable.

If you experience medical negligence due to a missed diagnosis, you need an experienced medical malpractice attorney to prove your case.  Jeffrey J. Downey has over 30 years of experience and started his career working for insurance companies defending malpractice and personal injury cases.  Now he uses that experience to benefit his clients.

Free Consultation – Contact the Law Office of Jeffrey J. Downey today for a free, initial consultation.  You pay no attorney’s fees unless your case is successful.

Contact Information:

Jeff Downey
McLean, Virginia Office Location
8270 Greensboro Drive, Suite 810
McLean, VA 22102
Phone: 703-564-7357
Fax: 703-883-0108