top of page

Charleston Medical Misdiagnosis Attorney

What is medical misdiagnosis?


20% of medical misdiagnoses are fatal. A medical misdiagnosis is a serious event and can lead to a patient’s condition worsening, stress, anxiety, wasted time and money, and even death. On top of all that, there’s also the possibility that the patient will unnecessarily suffer negative side effects from taking unneeded medications. 


Common Types of Medical Misdiagnosis:


  • Wrong disease diagnosed.

  • Failure to diagnose in a reasonable amount of time.

  • Diagnosis of current condition is right, but underlying cause is incorrect.

  • Medication side effects mistaken for illness.


Is a Misdiagnosis Considered Medical Malpractice?


Three things must be shown for a medical misdiagnosis to be considered a form of medical malpractice.


  1. The patient was seeing said physician for a condition, symptoms, and/or treatment. 

  2. In what manner was the doctor negligent? A doctor will arrive at a differential diagnosis systematically. The doctor will have a list of possible diagnoses for the illness of a patient. Diagnostic tests are then performed to confirm or rule out possible illnesses. This can result in several things happening:

    • The right diagnosis is made.

    • An incorrect diagnosis is made because the correct diagnosis was not on the list of possible diagnoses that MOST reasonable, knowledgeable doctors would consider.

    • A wrong diagnosis is made because the doctor chose the wrong diagnostic test(s) that would have determined disease.

    • Faulty diagnostic equipment caused inaccurate test results.

    • Diagnostic test results were inaccurate due to human error, such as lab mix-ups, or a misreading of the results.

  3. There was negligence on the part of the physician in causing injury to the patient.


 A misdiagnosis by itself does not necessarily mean that there was negligence on the part of the doctor. The fact is that doctors can make mistakes while still using a reasonable standard of care. The question is whether your doctor was acting competently when the misdiagnosis was made. Did your doctor engage in the kind of critical thinking that others in the medical community would have expected.


Determining this can be complex and often involves scrutinizing what the doctor did or didn’t do prior to submitting a diagnosis. Doctors use a system known as differential diagnosis to determine what’s wrong with and how to treat patients. It starts with an evaluation of the patient and then lists possible diagnoses to treat the observed symptoms. Were detailed questions asked about the symptoms?  Was the patient’s previous medical history reviewed? Which tests were administered? Was patient referred to a specialist?


If the doctor failed to conduct a proper and adequate differential diagnosis, then a medical malpractice case might be possible. The goal of most medical malpractice arguments involving diagnostic error is to show that another doctor, in a similar specialty and under similar circumstances, would not have misdiagnosed the patient’s condition.


Most Misdiagnosed Medical Conditions:


  • Appendicitis

  • Breast Cancer

  • Cervical cancer

  • Diabetes

  • Lung Cancer

  • Meningitis

  • Acute Myocardial Infarction (heart attack)

  • Ovarian Cancer

  • Prostate Cancer

  • Pulmonary Embolism

  • Stroke

  • Testicular Cancer

  • Tuberculosis


Contact a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today


Caroline West is an experienced Charleston Medical Malpractice Lawyer and has been fighting for the rights of the injured in Charleston for over 25 years. If you or a loved one suffered a worsening medical condition or death due to a medical misdiagnosis, you may be eligible for damages. West Law works on a contingency fee basis. Meaning we don’t get paid unless you do.


Get in touch today.

bottom of page