According to the National Center for Health Statistics, an estimated 565,650 people died from cancer in 2008. More than 15.8 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with cancer, and a study by the University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine estimates that more than 12% of cancer cases are initially misdiagnosed. This misdiagnosis can sometimes cause treatable cancers to become harder to treat or completely untreatable. This may also lead to serious complications, disfigurement, and even wrongful death.
It is the fiduciary responsibility of doctors and medical professionals to be on the alert for signs of cancer and to order the appropriate tests to detect probable cancer. A diagnosis of cancer can be devastating for a patient, a failure to diagnose cancer is almost always much more devastating. Cancer, when caught in the early stages lends a greater chance of survival for the patient.
Delayed cancer diagnosis cases can be extremely complex. Doctors defending delayed diagnosis cases may well claim that they were not negligent. They may also claim that earlier diagnosis and treatment would not have made a difference.
Factors Leading to Delayed Diagnosis of Cancer
- Inability to recognize a tumor
- Failure to perform a diagnostic test when one is needed
- Misinterpreted test results
- Procedure performed incorrectly
- Malfunction of technology
- Lost or switched lab results
- Misread x-rays
- Failure to refer patient to correct specialist
There are many scenarios that can play into a Delayed Diagnosis of Cancer. For instance, a medical professional whose negligence delayed the diagnosis, may include the general practitioner, who might have elected not to perform a diagnostic test or issue a referral, the radiologist, who misinterpreted the patients x-rays, a surgeon, who did not remove a tumor properly or did not notice suspicious tissue and then referred the patient to a specialist, or other specialists who may have had contact with the patient. In some cases, manufacturers of malfunctioning technology may also be liable.
When You Have Been Affected by Delayed Diagnosis of Cancer
There are several important steps you can take when you have been diagnosed with cancer and believe it should have been diagnosed earlier:
- Contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney to discuss your case. Your attorney will guide you through the entire process, it is smart to begin the legal process as soon as possible in order to preserve the testimony of all parties.
- Work with your attorney to promptly gather relevant medical records.
- Keep records of appointments, events, and bills.
- Collect any paperwork such as receipts and test results.
The Parrish Law Firm medical malpractice attorney works with northern Virginia citizens who have suffered from the delayed diagnosis of cancer and are looking for fair compensation for their suffering. Contact us today for a free case consultation, or call us at 703-906-4229.
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A representative of the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC researched and wrote this article with Mr. Parrish’s consent. If you have any questions regarding the legal implications of what you have just read, please send us your question by clicking here so we can have our attorney review it.