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Proving Negligence Following a Misdiagnosis in a Medical Malpractice Claim

When a patient is injured after visiting a physician, the effects can be devastating. Patients place their trust in doctors and have faith that the physicians are acting in their best interest. Unfortunately, doctors do make mistakes. One type of common mistake is to misdiagnose a patient’s illness or condition.

In order to be successful in pursuing a medical malpractice claim following a misdiagnosis, you must prove the following:

  • A doctor-patient relationship existed between the two parties
  • The doctor acted negligently
  • The doctor’s negligence caused actual injury to the patient

Proving a Doctor’s Negligence After a Misdiagnosis

Proving that a doctor acted negligently requires a showing that the doctor did not provide treatment in a reasonably skillful and competent manner. Your misdiagnosis alone is not enough to prove that your doctor committed medical malpractice. Instead, you must evaluate what the doctor did and did not do in order to arrive at a diagnosis. The “differential diagnosis” method utilized by the doctor when deciding upon your treatment will need to be assessed.

How Does the “Differential Diagnosis” Method Work?

The doctor makes a preliminary evaluation of the patient. Next, the doctor makes a list of diagnoses in order of probability. The doctor then tests the strength of each diagnosis by utilizing the following techniques:

  • Making further medical observations of the patient
  • Asking detailed questions about the patient’s symptoms and medical history
  • Ordering tests
  • Referring the patient to medical specialists


As a result of these tests, the goal is that several possible diagnoses are then ruled out, leaving only one likely culprit. To prove your medical malpractice claim based on wrong diagnosis, you will have to demonstrate that a doctor in a similar specialty, under similar circumstances, would not have given the wrong diagnosis of the patient’s condition. This means showing that your doctor did not include the correct diagnosis on the differential diagnosis list despite the fact that a reasonable skillful doctor under similar circumstances would have done so. In the alternative, the doctor may have had the correct diagnosis on the list, but may have failed to perform the necessary tests in order to investigate properly.

For more information about how Morton Law Offices can help you pursue a medical malpractice claim following a wrong diagnosis, we invite you to read the firsthand accounts from other satisfied clients on our client testimonials page at http://www.mortonlawyers.com/testimonials.cfm.

Alan Morton
Advocate for Justice/Trial Lawyer