Because of the severity of various illnesses, a failure to diagnose can lead to both disability and death - thus causing the filing of medical malpractice lawsuits. These lawsuits are time-intensive and costly, and whilst positive progress is made in these cases (such as payouts and increased awareness within the medical community), there are negative implications which need to be considered as well. Defensive medicine is one such negative implication.

What is Defensive Medicine?

In short, defensive medicine occurs when your doctor practices and treats you with the express intent of avoiding legal action if a problem should occur. The signs that your doctor is practicing defensive medicine include:

  • Your doctor goes beyond what is necessary for diagnosing and treating you
  • Your doctor performs tests that they believe you want/expect in order to keep you satisfied, even if these tests aren’t clinically necessary
  • Your doctor avoids treating high-risk patients in favor of those who are more likely to have good outcomes
  • Your doctor chooses and bases their medical specialty on the likelihood of good outcomes and the least risk of medical malpractice lawsuits

The problem with defensive medicine is that it is costly and quickly forms bottlenecks which become time-consuming. Additionally, if all doctors choose a medical specialty that has less risk of medical malpractice lawsuits, then there will be a shortage of doctors where they are needed most.

Defensive medicine can also be dangerous, which is seen with the current trend of overprescribing antibiotics. This is leading to a surge in antibiotic-resistant bacteria which is much harder to treat and is more contagious.

Legal Matters

Regardless of whether your doctor practices defensive medicine or not, it is important to know that if you or a family member acquired an injury or disability due to a doctor’s failure to diagnose, then you can take legal action. This is especially true if the doctor’s failed diagnosis led to death.

The first step you need to take when filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against a doctor for their failure to diagnose is to consult with a qualified medical malpractice lawyer. This is because the law doesn’t hold doctors as legally responsible for all diagnostic errors, and the law also differs by state. You will need an NYC medical malpractice attorney who is familiar with the specific laws that pertain to NYC in particular.

Your medical malpractice lawyer will then help you pursue your medical malpractice lawsuit by assisting you in proving that a failure to diagnose occurred by:

  1. Indicating that a doctor-patient relationship between you and your doctor existed
  2. Proving that you would not have suffered your current injury/disability, had your doctor diagnosed you properly
  3. Describing that a reasonably competent doctor would have correctly diagnosed and treated your medical problem based on your symptoms and that your doctor acted negligently by not doing so.


If you believe that you or a family member may have experienced a failure to diagnose, please contact the medical malpractice lawyers of Rosenburg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff LLP in NYC today and speak to one of our medical malpractice attorneys.

When you are ready to talk, we are ready to listen. Call 212-344-1000 for a free, confidential consultation.


122 East 42nd Street Suite 3800
New York, NY 10168

Tel: 212-LAWYERS

Tel: 212-697-9280



8900 Sutphin Blvd Suite 501
Queens, NY 11435

Tel: (718) 399-3100

*By Appointment Only



220-226 E 161st Street
The Bronx, NY 10451

Tel: (212) 344-1000

*By Appointment Only



1002 Dean St
Brooklyn, NY 11238

Tel: (516) 410-4445

*By Appointment Only