Why a Cancer Misdiagnosis Qualifies as Medical Malpractice

Published on December 5th, 2018

cancer misdiagnosis medical malpracticePatients trust that their doctors will treat them fully and appropriately for their symptoms. In many cases, a person may believe there is something wrong with them and visits a doctor for testing and confirmation. A misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose cancer can have catastrophic effects for a patient and their family. This negligence qualifies as medical malpractice.

The Ramifications of the Failure to Diagnose Cancer

The failure of a healthcare provider to diagnose a health problem is a major breach of duty, particularly when it comes to overlooking a condition like cancer. A delay in the identification of cancer can reverberate dramatically:

  • Delayed diagnosis means delayed treatment.
  • Treatment may be less effective than it would have been with early intervention.
  • More aggressive treatment may be necessary.
  • The cancer has time to grow and spread.
  • It possible the cancer cannot be treated successfully at all.

When there is a failure to diagnosis cancer in a timely manner, even when the patient brought their symptoms to their doctor and sought out a diagnosis, the consequences can be dire. For some people, overlooking a critical diagnosis equates to a death sentence.

The trauma that comes from a doctor’s failure to diagnose cancer is swift and severe. A person’s chances of beating cancer could have been better had their doctor not been negligent.

Detecting and Misdiagnosing Cancer

Cancer can be detected through a variety of tests, depending on the type of cancer and its location. While treatment for cancer has improved and many more patients are given opportunities to aggressively fight their diagnosis, early screening and identification remains an essential part of surviving cancer. Patients who have risk factors based on age or gender, medical history, or a family history of certain types of cancer should be on their doctor’s radar as requiring diagnostic testing far sooner than other patients.

Of course, patients who do not see their general practitioner or specialist regularly do not give their doctor the opportunity to deliver an early diagnosis. It’s essential for everyone to be proactive in their efforts to maintain good health. Patients who do their best to take care of themselves and seek out annual physicals and periodic exams like mammograms, pap smears, prostate exams, and colonoscopies give themselves a better chance for an early diagnosis and treatment should there be any signs of cancer.

Should patients have these exams and their doctors overlook results that show clear signs of cancer, that can be considered negligence and medical malpractice.

Doctors Make Mistakes – But a Misdiagnosis Can Be Tragic

There are times when testing for cancer is done improperly, such as a poorly administered MRI, CAT scan, ultrasound, x-ray. Test results can be read incorrectly. Ultimately, no matter how many tests a person has done, the results can only be read and delivered by a human doctor – and humans make mistakes. Sometimes doctors commit tragic and preventable errors, even when they are doing their best to uphold the standard of care.

There are types of cancer that are difficult to diagnose or easy to misdiagnose. For some patients, their cancer is misclassified as a different type of cancer. If you have experienced any of these situations, or lost a loved one to a cancer misdiagnosis, contact Thurswell Law to discuss your situation. You may have a medical malpractice claim and the right to compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses, therapy, rehabilitation, and lost wages. Call (248) 354-2222 today.

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