When It Looks like a Cancer Misdiagnosis is a Malpractice Lawsuit
The words cancer misdiagnosis may appear to be a misnomer. In your case, it might be that the prospectively deadly disease just wasn’t picked up at all. Are these grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit? In one word, maybe.
First things first. As a patient or someone concerned about a loved one, you should always seek advice from an experienced medical malpractice attorney if you have questions. The answer is not always black and white. However, in general terms, it boils down to some significant evidence.
Had the cancer been diagnosed earlier would it have changed the outcome? Essentially, what were the damages as a result of either a delayed or misdiagnosis of cancer?
Medical Malpractice Claims and Cancer
By and large, the first part of a medical malpractice claim centers on the standard of care. What does that mean exactly? Essentially, it starts with the concept that treating doctors need to order appropriate diagnostic tests and start a suitable regimen of care. Of course, that could even include referrals to specialists.
With that in mind, we will give you an example. A woman visits her primary doctor with concerns about a small lump she finds on her breast. No doubt this is a reason for concern. Notwithstanding, the doctor looks at the raised surface and reassures the patient that it is a pimple and will go away on its own.
The physician does not suggest a mammogram. Additionally, there are no recommendations for consults with either a gynecologist or breast doctor. The woman is relieved. After all, she sought medical attention. Surely, everything is okay.
Only it isn’t. More than likely, you can guess where this story is going. The pimple never goes away because it is really an indication that the woman has breast cancer. Fortunately, she seeks alternative care in time. The cancer is caught before it ravages her body.
And, that’s what may make the difference in whether it is feasible to pursue a medical malpractice claim. Did the delayed diagnosis change the outcome? Generally speaking, it will require an expert opinion to determine the answer.
Other Malpractice Claims Regarding Cancer
In the preceding illustration, we have given you an example of how failure to order diagnostic testing deviated from the standard of care. However, what happens when test results are misread?
This brings us to the true meaning of the expression Arguably, the term is applied to many things in life. However, it can absolutely pertain to a cancer diagnosis.
Let’s use the same case that we already provided. The treating physician thought the lump was a pimple. Nonetheless, he followed what he considered protocol and ordered a mammogram. The radiologist submits a report indicating normal findings. Consequently, the patient is assured that she really does not have to worry that she has cancer.
Only she does. When the same woman returns for her annual mammogram, it is determined that she has advanced breast cancer. Upon expert review, the original anomalies are picked out in the first mammogram. Could she have a malpractice case?
Outcome is Important
The outcome is an important consideration when attorneys evaluate a medical malpractice claim. For the most part, this requires retention of a medical expert. Above all, death is, of course, the worst case scenario. Would the decedent have survived if the diagnosis was made sooner? And, appropriate treatment rendered?
Then there’s the case of aggressive treatment. Would the victim have been subjected to less invasive intervention with an earlier diagnosis? What harm did the misdiagnosis or delay in diagnosis cause?
There’s actually more to a malpractice claim than the two issues we’ve brought to your attention here. Even so, your best course of action is to review your situation with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer.
If you suspect you or a loved one may have been a victim of medical malpractice, the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone can assist you. There is no cost to meet with us, and we have the resources to ensure your case is evaluated by appropriate experts. Call us to schedule an appointment.