Misdiagnosis and Failure to Diagnose

New York City Negligent Diagnosis Attorneys

NYC misdiagnosis and failure to diagnoseEach year, thousands of individuals rely on doctors and other medical professionals to properly treat their illnesses and injuries. Before treating a patient, it is crucial for a doctor to make an accurate and timely diagnosis of the medical condition. When a patient is harmed because a doctor failed to provide a proper or accurate diagnosis, it is possible to obtain compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit. Given the complexities involved in proving negligent diagnosis, it is essential to enlist the services an experienced medical malpractice attorney.

Scaffidi & Associates has decades of experience handling medical malpractice cases in the greater New York area. We believe that no one should suffer because an illness or injury was not properly diagnosed. If you or a loved one has been harmed because of the negligent diagnosis of a doctor or other medical professional, we will fight to help you obtain just compensation.

When Medical Professionals Fail to Diagnose a Medical Condition

All medical professionals have a duty to act with a reasonable level of care when treating patients, including by ordering necessary tests or referring patients to a specialist if an illness or injury is beyond the doctor’s skill and expertise. Misdiagnosing or failing to diagnose a medical condition can have serious consequences, such as patients receiving the wrong treatment or the wrong medication. In some cases, such medical mistakes can be life-threatening, especially for those suffering from cancer or heart disease, or who have sustained serious injuries.

Elements of Medical Malpractice

In order to have a valid claim for misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose, it is necessary to prove the following elements of negligence:

  • A doctor-patient relationship existed at the time of the alleged diagnostic error
  • The doctor’s mistake rose to the level of negligence by departing from good and accepted medical practice
  • The doctor’s negligence caused the patient harm
  • The injury led to specific damages — pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, disability, lost income, past and future medical expenses, future hardship, and other losses that would likely not have occurred without the doctor’s misdiagnosis

The first element is relatively straightforward, since a doctor-patient relationship is generally established when a doctor examines and treats a patient. It is more challenging to show that the doctor was negligent by failing to provide the level of care that a reasonably skilled physician would have provided under the same circumstances.

In the context of diagnostic errors, examples of such negligence include:

  • Failing to include a potential medical problem in the initial differential diagnosis
  • Improperly conducting or interpreting tests, resulting in a diagnostic error
  • Failing to recognize the urgency of the patient’s symptoms and delaying diagnosis
  • Misinterpreting the patient’s response to a medication, which leads to a wrong diagnosis by the doctor

Proving that a doctor’s negligence led to an improper diagnosis often requires expert testimony about the differential diagnosis that a reasonably skilled doctor should have considered under similar circumstances. A differential diagnosis essentially lists all the possible medical problems that may be causing the patient’s symptoms. The doctor then conducts tests on the patient based on the list, eliminating various possibilities, until a definitive diagnosis is reached.

Ultimately, it is necessary to show the doctor’s tests were inappropriate or flawed in order to establish a claim for negligent diagnosis, as well as to prove that the doctor’s negligence caused the patient harm. This harm may come in the form of failure to cure, personal injury or wrongful death, and may result in lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, and loss of enjoyment of life. Finally, before filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, it is necessary to obtain another doctor’s opinion that there is a reasonable basis for instituting the lawsuit.

Certainly, doctors are not miracle workers, however, medical professionals are held to high standards regarding negligence and misconduct. Moreover, one of the important responsibilities of a doctor it to make an accurate and timely diagnosis of a patient’s medical condition. Patients rely on their doctors’ education, training, and experience for accurate diagnoses and doctors have a responsibility to follow time-honored principles in arriving at a definitive diagnosis.

New York Medical Malpractice Attorneys

Although there are countless medical conditions and symptoms that patients may experience, a doctor has a duty to provide the appropriate standard of care when making a diagnosis. This is particularly crucial for illnesses and life-threatening conditions that, if caught early, can lead to a cure. When doctors hurry through an exam, misread diagnostic tests, such as lab tests and radiological tests — X-rays, MRIs and CT Scans — or fail to order additional tests or make referrals when necessary, there may be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.

For more than 30 years, the attorneys at Scaffidi & Associates have provided aggressive legal representation to individuals who have sustained harm due to a misdiagnosis or the failure to diagnose. We are dedicated to holding negligent parties accountable, including doctors, hospitals, laboratory and radiological companies, and other medical providers. We leverage our resources, technology, legal knowledge, and skill to make sure our clients receive the maximum compensation they deserve. Knowing that being harmed by a doctor’s negligent diagnosis is an overwhelming experience, our medical malpractice attorneys offer each client caring, efficient legal services. Call our office today or complete the contact form on our website to set up a consultation.


We encourage you to take the time to explore this website as the information provided here will answer many of your questions. We believe that an educated client is our best client. We are also readily available to discuss your case in confidence, whether it’s a matter involving personal injury, medical malpractice, real estate, or other legal challenges. Regardless of the issue you are facing, we are uniquely qualified to provide you with exceptional legal representation and personal service. Call our office or complete the contact form on our website to set up a consultation.