Medical Malpractice – Delayed diagnosis or failure to diagnose a medical problem

Under Florida Statute 766.102, actionable medical negligence is defined to include a situation where a care provider provides a level of care below what a reasonable professional would have offered.

Actionable medical negligence means a victim, or family members of a victim, may pursue a personal injury or wrongful death claim to recover compensation for damages. Medical malpractice claims commonly arise due to delayed diagnosis or due to failure to diagnose a medical problem.


reported approximately 12 million people who seek outpatient care annually are misdiagnosed, sometimes with profound consequences. Delayed diagnosis may be particularly damaging for certain conditions where prompt treatment is essential to avoid adverse outcomes.

Examples of health issues which can be exacerbated by delayed diagnosis include cancer, appendicitis, stroke, heart attack, dehydration and malnutrition, and ectopic pregnancy. Unfortunately, the Patient Experience Journal reports between 10 and 25 percent of cancer patients experienced a diagnostic error, with delay due to a doctor’s mistake accounting for 24 percent of these errors. Five-year cancer survival rates can drop from 90 percent for some cancers to below 10 percent based on treatment delays caused by misdiagnosis, according to

To make a successful malpractice claim based on delayed diagnosis, victims or their families must prove a reasonably competent doctor would have made a correct and timely diagnosis. Plaintiffs in malpractice claims also must demonstrate adverse consequences resulting from the delayed diagnosis.