medical doctorAdvances in medical technology have made it possible to diagnose and treat medical conditions that at one time were not readily identifiable. The advances made quicker, more accurate diagnoses possible. Unfortunately, some medical professionals do not always follow the proper protocol. The resulting diagnosis errors can lead to improper treatment, delayed treatment, or no treatment at all. A patient’s condition may worsen, resulting in further harm or even death. Although it is not possible to determine precise statistics, it is believed that thousands of patients die every year due to diagnostic errors. Millions more suffer irreversible and debilitating damage. Medical diagnosis errors are complex legal issues that are best handled by experienced attorneys such as Jonathan Comitz and the Team at Comitz Law.


Misdiagnosis vs. Delayed Diagnosis

A misdiagnosis occurs when doctors give the wrong diagnosis to a patient delaying proper treatment, and potentially decreasing the patient’s chance of recovery. A delayed diagnosis occurs when a patient seeks medical treatment for symptoms, but the condition causing the symptoms goes undiagnosed for an unreasonable amount of time before the correct diagnosis is reached.


Causes of Diagnosis Errors

A number of factors can contribute to diagnostic errors. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Failure to recognize the urgency of a potential medical issue
  • Failure to review the patient’s complete medical history
  • Failure to communicate with other medical professionals involved in the case
  • Failure to properly follow up and investigate all potential causes of symptoms
  • Failure to refer a patient to a specialist
  • Failure to screen or test for a specific medical condition
  • Failure to order appropriate diagnostic procedures
  • Failure to properly interpret test results


Commonly Misdiagnosed Conditions

The most commonly misdiagnosed medical conditions include:

  • cancer
  • heart disease
  • lupus
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • fibromyalgia
  • Lyme disease
  • multiple sclerosis
  • celiac disease
  • stroke
  • pulmonary embolism
  • thyroid disease
  • depression
  • myalgic encephalomyelitis


Legal Liability for Diagnosis Errors

Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of a medical condition are among the most common types of medical malpractice. However, these errors do not, by themselves, rise to the level of malpractice. Even when using reasonable care skillful doctors can make diagnostic errors.

To prevail in these types of cases, patients must prove three elements:

  • The doctor owed a duty of care to the patient.
  • The doctor was negligent by not providing treatment in a reasonable and competent manner consistent the applicable standard of care.
  • The doctor’s negligence caused an actual injury to the patient.


If you believe that you’ve been harmed by a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, call Comitz Law at 570-829-1111 or email