Failure to diagnose a medical condition in a timely manner is one of the most common forms of medical malpractice in the United States.

How often does it happen?

According to the National Patient Safety Foundation, one in six people reported experiencing a medical error related to misdiagnosis and nearly 40% of all medical malpractice claims are attributed to the failure to diagnose. Failing to diagnose certain conditions can result in dire consequences, including lasting injury or death. This serious form of medical malpractice can occur during a routine visit to your doctor, during pregnancy, in the emergency room, if a doctor fails to conduct certain tests, or if a doctor fails to follow-up on certain symptoms. When a failure to diagnose leads to harm to a patient, there are legal ramifications for physicians. Our medical malpractice lawyers can provide you with a free consultation.


It is a physician’s duty to recognize the signs and symptoms of certain medical conditions and make a diagnosis in a timely manner. Effective treatment of a medical condition depends on an early and accurate diagnosis. Factors associated with correct diagnosis include accurate assessment of symptoms, physician’s knowledge of conditions, and effective lab tests. Cases involving a failure to diagnose can be extremely complex, since they generally depend on highly technical interpretations of medical data (MRI, CT scans, x-rays, lab results, etc.). If you or a loved one believe you have been adversely affected by a physician’s failure to diagnose, contact the Law Offices of Wais, Vogelstein, Forman & Offutt to have a medical malpractice lawyer evaluate your claim.


Failure to diagnose can occur with any kind of illness for any number of reasons, but it often occurs as a result of a medical provider’s negligence. Some of the most common conditions related to the failure to diagnose include meningitis, stroke, Lyme’s disease, breast cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, heart attack, appendicitis, fractures, and diabetes. Heart attack, forms of cancer, and appendicitis are especially susceptible to errors or delays in diagnosis and can wreak havoc on a patient’s emotional and physical well-being. These conditions are not necessarily the most commonly misdiagnosed conditions, but rather these conditions lead to more severe consequences when diagnosis is delayed.

Books & Resources

For more information about Failure to Diagnose, the following resources are available: