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The difference between a misdiagnosis and a missed diagnosis

On Behalf of | Apr 30, 2021 | Blog, Medical Malpractice |

The failure of a New Jersey physician to provide a patient with a proper diagnosis of a medical condition, illness or disease can be the grounds for a medical malpractice claim. This type of medical error tends to come in one of two different forms. These are a misdiagnosis and a missed diagnosis. While they are both types of medical error that can give rise to medical malpractice, they are different types of negligence.


A misdiagnosis occurs when a physician provides a patient with an incorrect diagnosis of a condition, illness or disease. This results in a patient not receiving proper treatment for an ailment. The net result can be a deterioration of a person’s health. A misdiagnosis can prove fatal in some situations.

Missed diagnosis

A missed diagnosis is a situation in which a physician makes no diagnosis whatsoever. As a consequence, a patient fails to receive any treatment, which can result in a significant worsening of the actual ailment from which that individual suffers. As with a misdiagnosis, a missed diagnosis can prove fatal.

Medical malpractice

A misdiagnosis or a missed diagnosis rises to the level of medical malpractice if a physician failed to exercise reasonable care in ascertaining the condition of a patient. In basic terms, reasonable care is the legal standard based on what a similarly situated physician would have done in like circumstances.

If you believe that you are the victim of medical negligence, including a misdiagnosis or a missed diagnosis, a medical malpractice attorney can explain your legal rights. Many will schedule a no-cost and no-obligation initial consultation with a client to provide a general case evaluation.