Most people rely on doctors and medical professionals for help with serious medical conditions because they simply lack the knowledge base to make these decisions on their own. This can be problematic, though, when a doctor fails to treat an issue, dismissing it as nothing, when a patient feels that something is wrong. The patient may not want to second-guess the doctor or may trust him or her entirely, and the lack of treatment can then lead to a worsening of symptoms.
In some cases, the results can be dire. For instance, certain types of cancer can be cured when they're treated early, but putting that treatment off can allow the cancer to spread to other parts of the body, possibly making it inoperable and lethal. Even if it still can be treated, treatment may be far more costly and detrimental to the patient's health and way of life.
Why does this happen? There are many reasons, from inaccurate lab results to doctors who confuse patient records. In some cases, doctors just think that the person is suffering from temporary symptoms. The doctor thinks they're minor and expects that they'll go away without treatment. For example, the doctor could think a person's headaches are merely stress-induced, when the reality is that the person has a brain tumor or bleeding on the brain.
These are drastic examples, but they do show just how important it is for doctors to make the proper diagnosis and start the correct treatment. If mistakes on these fronts have caused you harm, you could have a right to financial compensation.
Source: FIndLaw, "Failed/Erroneous Diagnosis and Treatment," accessed Nov. 17, 2016