Medical Malpractice > Medical Misdiagnosis


According to a BMJ Quality and Safety Journal report, CBS News notes that the US has an estimated 12 million medical misdiagnoses annually (which is about 5% of all medical encounters). Of that number, researchers estimate that almost half have the potential to result in serious harm. If you’ve been affected by a misdiagnosis, these numbers might not come as a shock. From our perspective, these statistics underline the necessity for vigilance when receiving care and the importance of having a medical misdiagnosis lawyer on your side. 

Medical Misdiagnosis is a category of medical malpractice that is all too common. Doctors collect information when consulting with a patient. They observe, and they order tests. These activities are part of the “differential diagnosis” process physicians use as they sort information through a decision tree to eliminate particular possibilities for a diagnosis and narrow the focus to develop a treatment plan. Experience and test interpretation play a part in this determination. Diagnoses get missed, omitted, or performed incorrectly. 

Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality sought to answer just how pervasive misdiagnoses are and what the medical industry can do about them. A significant study identified three major disease categories that account for nearly three-quarters of all serious harms from diagnostic errors: vascular events, infections, and cancers. From these “big three,”  here are the top 15 conditions that account for nearly half of all the misdiagnosis-related severe harms: 

  1. Stroke
  2. Sepsis (blood infection)
  3. Lung cancer
  4. Heart attack
  5. Blood clots
  6. Aortic aneurysm
  7. Arterial blockage
  8. Meningitis 
  9. Encephalitis
  10. Spinal infection
  11. Pneumonia
  12. Endocarditis
  13. Breast cancer
  14. Prostate cancer
  15. Skin cancer

How do these conditions get misdiagnosed? It can happen in several ways, including: 

  • A failure to do a complete and comprehensive examination
  • A failure to properly review a patient’s medical history
  • A failure to order proper tests
  • A failure to ensure equipment and medical devices are properly sterilize,
  • A failure to communicate with the patient or consulting medical professionals 

A medical misdiagnosis lawyer can bridge the gap between justice and the physical and emotional trauma caused by medical misdiagnosis. The medical profession dictates professionals meet specific standards of care. Like many medical negligence and malpractice cases, misdiagnosis is not always easy to prove and must be acted upon swiftly. The statute of limitations in Indiana is generally two years from the date of the malpractice. 

Generally, most cases take over a year, and some can take longer. The Indiana Medical Malpractice Act guides the adjudication of medical misdiagnosis cases and requires a medical review panel to review all claims before filing in court. There is no typical settlement figure, but there are examples from which we can draw inferences. As an Indiana medical misdiagnosis lawyer with deep legal and medical expertise, Montross Miller has a unique capability to handle complex medical misdiagnosis cases.


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Nate consulted with medical experts, dug in and proceeded with the civil suit. I remember him telling me several times that [my wife’s] story was compelling and was deserving of his team’s full commitment and skill. We eventually settled before trial and were thrilled with the results, we felt justice prevailed. Nate was patient, thorough and a trusted advisor to us through this.


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