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Liability due to wrongful medical diagnosis and failure to undertake necessary diagnostical measures


1. We should trust medical doctors when they claim that fixing diagnosis represents, multiple times, something most difficult in their practice. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that wrongful medical diagnosis are so often. They are influenced by both subjective and objective factors. Negligence and insufficient experience of a medical doctor – diagnostician are classified into subjective, whereas patient’s medical tests which are subject to different interpretation are objective factors. In other words, there are easily and barely recognizable deseases. This is why wrongufl diagnosis itself does not mean medical doctor’s guilt in advance, because medical knowledge are not so perfect that each faithful examination of a sick person and careful interpretation of his tests could exclude fixing a wrongful diagnosis. Incorrect diagnosis draws medical doctor’s liability only in case when interpretation of a desease picture has been ungrounded completely from the medical point of view, when necessary control tests were not collected or when check of the first diagnosis during treatment has not been done.

            2. There are enough reasons that our lawyers, on the model of their german colleagues, make difference between errors in diagnosis and errors in diagnostic measures. Because, errors in diagnosti measures mean disobedience of the determined rules about work method,while errors in diagnosis occur because there are no rules of conduct, and because interpretation of medical tests’ ambiguity depends from a personal experience and medical doctor’s intuition. Furthermore, incorrect diagnosis are, most often, consequence of errors in diagnostical measures. Because of this fact, relaxed legal criteria should apply for errors in diagnosis than for errors in diagnostical measures. Yet, this does not mean that difference in liability due to these errors must be managed according to some given model, rather, it must adapt to the circumstances of a concrete case.

Jakov Radišić


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