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Failure To Diagnose/Misdiagnosis

When an improper diagnosis – or complete lack of one – results in an injury, you may have a medical malpractice claim. The medical malpractice attorneys at Burg Simpson have the experience and resources to help. We can help you prove:

Your doctor made a diagnostic error

This mistake led to an injury, made your injury worse, or it delated your recovery

You suffered damages significantly to justify the costs and time associated with litigation, and for which a jury can compensate you

If you believe you have suffered an injury because a health care provider’s failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis, contact Burg Simpson immediately to discuss the circumstances of your situation. Call us at (866) 506-3183 or fill out our FREE case evaluation form.

Many medical conditions are manageable if properly diagnosed and treated in a timely manner. Medical professionals will sometimes give the wrong diagnosis or delay a diagnosis altogether. These unnecessary delays can cause severe injuries to someone with a medical condition. Medical mistakes generally fall into one of these categories:

  • Failure to diagnose: This happens when your medical provider does not make the connection between your symptoms and your actual medical condition, which results in no treatment.
  • Misdiagnosis: This typically refers to when your medical provider thinks you have a medical condition other than the one you do have.
  • Delayed diagnosis: This occurs when the diagnosis you receive isn’t timely enough to most effectively treat your condition.

What Conditions Can Occur or Worsen due to Failure to Diagnose?

Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis of serious medical conditions can be fatal. Some examples include:

Heart Attack

As medical research advances and new drugs such as “clot-busting” thrombolytic drugs become available, heart attacks – or myocardial infarctions – are more survivable and treatable than ever before. However, time is of the essence when treating heart attacks. The slightest delay can be fatal. Unfortunately, doctors and other medical professionals sometimes fail to recognize the symptoms. In fact, heart attacks are one of the most commonly misdiagnosed medical conditions.


Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability and one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. When recognized and treated quickly, the damage caused by a stroke can be mitigated, and the likelihood of survival and recovery improve significantly. Failure to diagnose a stroke can lead to avoidable brain injury or even death.

Pulmonary Embolism

Pulmonary embolism refers to a blockage in one of the pulmonary arteries in your lungs. Pulmonary embolism is often caused by blood clots that travel to the lungs from the legs, arms, or abdomen. It can also result from other substances, such as fat or air bubbles lodging themselves in the arteries of the lungs. Pulmonary embolism can be life-threatening, and prompt treatment is necessary to reduce the risk of death. If the symptoms are misdiagnosed – or even undiagnosed – any delay can be catastrophic. Unfortunately, there are times when a fatal injury could have been prevented if the attending medical professionals had acted appropriately.


Sepsis is a medical condition caused by a bacterial infection. To combat the infection, the body excretes chemicals into the bloodstream, which result in inflammatory responses. This inflammation can prompt numerous changes, damaging or even shutting down vital organs. Septic shock will occur if this progresses, with the danger of a continual drop in blood pressure that can lead to death. Sepsis is a medical emergency that must be treated immediately. If the physician or hospital staff fails to treat or diagnose sepsis, it could result in a host of problems.


When diagnosed early, most forms of cancer have a relatively high recovery rate. As a general rule, the longer the delay in diagnosis, the more invasive and painful the treatments, and the lower the chances of full recovery. While methods for diagnosing cancer have improved over the years, the time doctors spend with their patients has decreased. Sometimes patients come to their doctors with concerns about their health, reporting worrisome symptoms, only to have their concerns ignored and their conditions left undiagnosed until symptoms because worse. In cancer cases, this delay in diagnosis can have devastating effects on the patient.

When Is Misdiagnosis Medical Malpractice?

A medical misdiagnosis may be considered malpractice when the doctor or other medical professionals fail to take appropriate steps to correctly diagnose the problem, including:

  • Taking a full medical history to determine possible predispositions and risk factors
  • Ordering appropriate tests to establish the cause of the problems
  • Carefully maintaining records and test samples to ensure accuracy

Burg Simpson’s Medical Malpractice Attorneys Can Help

If you or someone you love has suffered a severe condition including a heart attack, stroke, pulmonary embolism, sepsis, or cancer as a result of a doctor’s failure to detect it properly, call us right away to schedule your free initial consultation. We will review the circumstances of your claim and help you determine the best course of action. Call us today at (866) 506-3183 or fill out our FREE case evaluation.

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