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Diagnostic and Reporting Errors

A doctor can make mistakes when collecting and evaluating a diagnostic report. If a doctor makes a determination of a disease that is not correct, this is called a diagnostic error and the diagnosis is not justifiable. The so-called fundamental diagnostic error, on the other hand, is particularly gross, i.e. completely useless and not justifiable.

Possible causes for an error in a diagnosis are

Illness with ambiguous symptoms

  • Different symptoms of the same disease in different patients
  • Symptoms of different degrees of severity in the same disease in different patients.

It is therefore difficult to classify a misdiagnosis as a treatment error. However, if the misdiagnosis proves to be effective, the burden of proof is reversed.  This means that it is not the patient who has to prove the mistake, but the doctor has to prove that he did not make a mistake.

In addition to the diagnostic error, there is also the reporting error.

If a doctor misses further examinations after he has already recognised signs of illness, he makes a so-called diagnostic error. This can be classified as “gross mistake” if the signs are obvious to him. In this case the burden of proof may be reversed in favour of the patient.

A treatment error can be the consequence of a diagnostic error. Get in touch with a team of experts in medical law. 

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