Failure to Diagnose Cancer Attorneys in Orlando
Was Your Cancer Missed or Ignored? You May Have a Malpractice Case
While there is no absolute cure for cancer, there are certain tools, such as radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery, which are used to treat it. There is no guarantee that any of these treatments will work. But all treatments are most effective when the disease is discovered at an early stage. When medical professionals fail to detect signs of cancer, they may be robbing a patient of precious months or years of life.
An often cited paper published in the British Medical Journal estimated a cancer misdiagnosis rate of around 28%. Although this may sound high, studies have confirmed that missed cancer diagnoses are, regrettably, quite common. For example, a separate study published in the British Medical Journal found that second reviews of mammograms showed that between 10-30% of breast cancers are missed on mammography.
Breach of the Duty of Care
A recent analysis published by the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that errors in diagnosis are the most common reasons for medical malpractice lawsuits. However, because some cancers are more difficult to detect than others, failure to diagnose cancer is not always grounds for legal action. In order to win a medical malpractice claim, the patient and his or her attorney must be able to prove that the failure to diagnose was the result of negligence by a healthcare provider, such as a physician, a hospital, clinic, or a diagnostic laboratory.
Another way of stating that a healthcare provider has been negligent is by saying the provider breached his or her "duty of care" to a patient. This occurs whenever the doctor does something that a competent doctor would not have done under similar circumstances, or where the doctor fails to do something that a competent doctor would have done. In some cases, the presence of cancer can be so difficult to detect that even a competent and experienced doctor could fail to make a cancer diagnosis.
However, there are also cases of failure to diagnose cancer that clearly involve a doctor’s negligence. For instance, if a woman goes to her physician because she’s discovered a lump in her breast, standard medical procedure generally requires that the physician order a mammogram and possibly a biopsy to rule out cancer. If a doctor does not perform these tests, and incorrectly tells the patient the lump is noncancerous after performing a simple manual exam, this doctor has clearly breached his duty of care to the patient, since he did not follow the standard practice that other, competent doctors would have followed under the circumstances.
Common Causes of Failure to Diagnose Cancer
Examples of the negligent failure to diagnose cancer can include:
- Dismissing the patient’s complaints
- Failing to notice obvious cancer symptoms
- Failing to order appropriate diagnostic imaging, such as X-rays and CT scans
- Failing to perform appropriate diagnostic procedures, such as biopsies, colonoscopies, and mammograms
- Misreading the results of diagnostic imaging or procedures
- Failing to refer a patient to a specialist for further evaluation
- Misdiagnosing the patient, and thereby attributing the patient’s symptoms to something other than cancer
A misdiagnosis of a patient with cancer can delay life-saving treatments and can result in unnecessary treatments aimed at alleviating the wrong condition. By the same token, a false cancer diagnosis can also result in unnecessary treatments that cause the patient harm, such as mastectomies, hysterectomies, chemotherapy, or the amputation of a healthy limb.
Consult an Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If you suspect that you have a claim for failure to diagnose cancer and want to talk to an experienced Orlando medical malpractice attorney who has successfully represented clients like you, contact our legal team at Faiella & Gulden, P.A. We have handled many such cases and are passionate about the rights of medical malpractice victims. Please call us at (407) 647-6111 for a free case evaluation.
- How Cancer Is Diagnosed - National Cancer Institute
- Tests to Find and Diagnose Cancer - American Cancer Society
We require no legal retainer or upfront fees, and you pay nothing unless we prevail. Call us for your free consultation.