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The Most Common Medical Conditions That Go Undiagnosed by Doctors

June 30, 2023

When we go to the doctor with an illness, we expect them to make a diagnosis. This is not an unreasonable expectation, as diagnostic tests and equipment are more sophisticated than ever before. Despite the advancement of medical technology, however, some illnesses remain difficult to diagnose. This is sometimes due to inconclusive test results or conflicting or confusing symptoms. In some cases, however, a failure to diagnose the patient’s medical condition is the result of negligence on the part of the doctor or other medical professional. If you had a condition that was initially undiagnosed, a failure to diagnose attorney can review your case and determine whether you may be entitled to compensation.  


Early diagnosis is the key to successfully treating cancer. Failure to diagnose cancer can lead to unnecessary suffering and additional harm for the patient and tragically, often results in death. Failure to diagnose various types of cancers often arises from declining to send the patient for a biopsy after a cancer screening returns an abnormal result, but it can also result from over-reliance upon negative test results despite indications to the contrary.  

Heart Attacks

Medical professionals often misdiagnose heart attacks in young people or others who are not typically considered at risk of a heart attack. This is because other health conditions can mimic the symptoms of a heart attack, such as gastrointestinal reflux disease. In addition, not all people suffer chest pain while having a heart attack or other symptoms such as pain radiating down the left arm. You may have a medical malpractice claim if your doctor failed to diagnose your heart attack because they failed to do any of the following: 

  • Failed to administer clot-dissolving drugs
  • Failed to administer blood tests to measure cardiac enzyme levels
  • Failed to perform an EKG

If you suffered a heart attack that went undiagnosed, you should consult with an experienced failure to diagnose attorney. 


While strokes may not necessarily be preventable, a proper and timely diagnosis is essential to avoiding long-term complications and ensuring the best possible recovery. If you later discovered that you had a stroke that initially went undiagnosed, you may have a medical malpractice claim. Doctors typically fail to diagnose strokes when they fail to make a thorough exam and order the correct tests, including the following: 

  • Failure to perform a CT scan of the brain
  • Failure to perform an ultrasound of the arteries
  • Failure to conduct a thorough neurological exam


Aneurysms are the formation of a bulge in an artery wall. They can occur anywhere in the body but are most dangerous when they occur in the brain or chest. A failure to diagnose an aneurysm can lead to internal hemorrhaging, blood clots, or a stroke. A ruptured aneurysm is a serious medical emergency, and failure to diagnose the aneurysm at that point can quickly result in the death of the patient. It is therefore ideal that the aneurysm is diagnosed before it ruptures. Unfortunately, many aneurysms go undiagnosed when physicians ignore the symptoms or fail to thoroughly examine their patients.   

Pulmonary Embolisms

A pulmonary embolism occurs when a blood clot travels from another part of the body and lodges itself in the lungs. A pulmonary embolism can be fatal if not properly and promptly diagnosed. Failure to diagnose a pulmonary embolism typically occurs when the physician fails to recognize or ignores symptoms such as the following: 

  • Stabbing chest pain
  • Leg pain or swelling
  • Dry cough with bloody sputum
  • Irregular and rapid heartbeat
  • Excessive sweating or fever
  • Dizziness and fainting

If you or a loved one suffered as a result of an undiagnosed pulmonary embolism, a failure to diagnose attorney can review your case and determine whether you may have a claim. 

Drug Overdose

It can be very difficult to make a proper diagnosis when someone has overdosed on illegal drugs. Not all drug overdoses involve illegal narcotics, however. Drug overdoses can occur with legally prescribed medications, particularly among the elderly who can lose track of whether they have already taken the medication. The likelihood of an overdose increases among patients who have long-term health issues that require multiple daily medications. 

To prevent further harm or even death of the patient, doctors must quickly diagnose the overdose. Failure to review the patient’s medical records or to take a thorough medical history can lead to a failed diagnosis. 

Did Your Doctor Fail to Diagnose Your Illness? Contact Ragain & Clark Today

If your illness should have been diagnosed but wasn’t, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills and other losses. To discuss your case with a failure to diagnose attorney who knows how to get results, contact us today by calling 307-388-6400 (Worland) or 406-651-8888 (Billings) to schedule a free consultation.


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