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Can Doctor Bias be the Basis for a Florida Misdiagnosis Claim?


You would never expect that health care professionals could be guilty of allowing bias to affect the practice of medicine, but it’s a bigger problem than you think. According to findings from a survey published by WebMD, as many as 4 in 10 physicians admit that preconceived notions about a patient affect their judgment when diagnosing a medical condition. An individual’s emotional issues, weight, and intelligence were the factors most likely to impact bias, especially among:

  • ER physicians;
  • Orthopedic professionals;
  • Psychiatrists; and,
  • Family practitioners and OB-GYNs.

If you were a victim of misdiagnosis, you should know that it’s not necessary to prove bias to recover compensation. However, because prejudice is more likely to lead to medical negligence, you should discuss your situation with a Florida misdiagnosis lawyer. You should also understand the four types of bias that can lead to diagnosis errors.

  1. Anchoring Bias: When doctors place too much emphasis on a single piece of data or idea, they may fixate on the theory in making decisions. Not allowing for alternative diagnosis possibilities leads a physician to not consider additional screenings and tests – which might exclude certain medical conditions and narrow down the patient’s ailment. Anchoring bias eventually affects care if the diagnosis is incorrect, since the patient receives treatment for the wrong issue and none for the actual illness.
  2. Wishful Thinking: As the term suggests, this form of bias exists when a health care provider wants the diagnosis to be true. It may come from a sense of confidence when the doctor realizes that treatment for the medical condition is likely to be successful, and the patient will recover. The problem is that the physician may also overestimate the rewards and not consider the risks for the patient.
  3. Confirmation: A particular concern with doctors who have been practicing medicine for many years, confirmation bias is the inclination for a practitioner to look for information that aligns with their prior experience in diagnosing medical conditions. In doing so, that physician may dismiss details that indicate a patient suffers from some other ailment. The dismissive approach is common when the bigger picture leads to challenges in making a diagnosis.


  1. Availability Bias: This form of bias may occur when a health care provider overestimates the possibility that a patient suffers from a medical condition, due to recent events available in his or her memory. It’s most common in specialty areas because physicians often see multiple patients with the same ailment. However, any doctor may have preconceived notions about an ailment because “it’s going around this time of year.”

Discuss Your Options with a Florida Diagnosis Error and Malpractice Lawyer

Bias is just one way that health care providers make mistakes in diagnosing a medical condition, but there are many other forms of negligence that lead to harm for patients. To learn more about your rights as the victim of a misdiagnosis, please contact our Miami misdiagnosis lawyers at Freidin Brown, P.A. We can set up a no-cost case evaluation for you at our offices.




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