Common Types Of Diagnostic Errors

The 2019 Medical Conference provided an avenue for healthcare professionals to interact and discuss diagnosis improvement and enhance safety in medicine. Doctors and other medical experts have the ultimate responsibility for accurately diagnosing their patients. Unfortunately, lapses do occur and may result in diagnostic errors. 


As much as doctors try to prevent mistakes in their diagnosis, it can still happen. And it can be detrimental to a person’s life. Patients can have an incorrect or delayed diagnosis and not receive any treatment at all for their condition. This shortcoming may lead to patients’ symptoms continuing, brushing off the pain they have, or worse, their death.

We must know the types of diagnostic errors to make sure that receiving the help and treatment we deserve. And if we fail to receive it, we have the right to make complaints and hold medical professionals accountable for their actions.  

Late Diagnosis
Delayed diagnosis is one of the more common examples of diagnostic lapses. This situation occurs when doctors eventually correct their diagnosis after a significant amount of time. Due to this error, patients don’t receive proper treatment and may perform activities that can cause more harm to their health. 

Failure To Address Complications
When the doctor makes an accurate diagnosis but fails to recognize certain complications and factors, it can result in further aggravation of the patient’s condition.  

Missed Diagnosis
Missed diagnosis transpires when the medical professional is unable to make a diagnosis for their patient and let them go. This error may result in the patient not getting timely and accurate treatment for their condition.


Incorrect Diagnosis
A doctor may diagnose a patient with an incorrect illness. For example, a doctor may diagnose a person with cancer even though he/she is cancer-free. Misdiagnosis may also happen in an emergency room where its effect may be more imminent.    

Inability To Diagnose An Unrelated Disease
This situation happens when a doctor successfully detects one of the diseases a patient has but misses another unrelated second disease. 

Inability To Diagnose A Related Disease
This situation happens when a doctor successfully detects one of the diseases a patient has but misses another related illness. 

There are many factors why diagnostic errors happen. Some of these factors are related to the limited access of patients to quality health care, unavailability of diagnostic tests, lack of communication between the doctor and the patient, and lack of means to have a follow-up.