Maryland Malpractice Attorneys: When it’s Your Health, What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

The old expression says what you do not know cannot hurt you — but when it comes to your health, nothing could be further from the truth. Early detection of a health problem can make all the difference in the outcome, since you obviously will not get treatment for an illness you do not know you have. In cases of progressive but treatable diseases such as many cancers, the consequences of not knowing can be deadly.

That is why many medical malpractice claims arise not out of what the doctor did, but what the doctor failed to do — specifically, failing to diagnose a condition correctly and at the proper time. In fact, the most common types of medical malpractice claims are:

  • Failure to diagnose — This includes not only complete failure to identify the cause of symptoms, but also partial diagnosis that overlooks an equally important, or even more important, underlying condition.
  • Delayed diagnosis — Failing to identify an illness in time to prevent the consequences of lack of treatment, usually due to mishandling of the diagnostic process.
  • Misdiagnosis — Often used as a catch-all term for all diagnostic missteps, but specifically referring to a diagnostic error that takes the patient down the wrong path of treatment.

According to, these claims are associated with some of the highest payouts in medical malpractice suits, and most commonly involve the misdiagnosis of:

  • Breast cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Heart attack
  • Appendicitis

Misdiagnosis of heart attack, appendicitis and similar problems requiring urgent care often occurs in emergency room situations, where even normal conditions present challenges to prompt and thorough care. However, whether misdiagnosis occurs amid the chaos of the emergency room or in the relative calm of an office examination, medical professionals may be held responsible for lapses in judgment that fail to get the patient the proper treatment at the proper time. Talk to a Maryland malpractice attorney at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton, P.A. to begin the process of filing a claim against the health care professional who failed to diagnose your condition correctly.