You have cancer – That is probably one of the most horrifying statements that a person can hear. To say that the treatment for cancer is harsh is an understatement and the outcome many times is grim. Cancer is on the rise and so is the practice of some Doctors telling patients who don’t have cancer that they do in fact have it. Many times the misdiagnosis is an honest error, however sometimes it is an intentional act.
For instance, Dr. Farid Fata of Michigan was sentenced to life in prison in 2014 for defrauding Medicare out of millions of dollars by giving chemotherapy to patients who didn’t need it. He admitted to intentionally misdiagnosing patients with cancer and also recommending unnecessary chemotherapy to dying patients. Dr. Farid Fata plead guilty to 13 counts of health care fraud, two counts of money laundering and one count of conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks. Dr. Fata said: “The crimes were part of a moneymaking scheme” and he also stated that “It is my choice, I knew that it was medically unnecessary.”
Dr. Sayed Mohammed, a retired Oncologist admits seeing the trend of misdiagnosis of cancer more than a decade ago. He said that “Many of these unscrupulous Physicians are like businessmen without a conscience. The only difference is they have your health and trust in their hands–a very dangerous combination when money is involved,”
The National Cancer Institute has confirmed via a report that the ‘war on cancer’ over the last 30 years has led to more than 1.3 million people (primarily women) being wrongly diagnosed with cancer.
A study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association has a hopeful subtitle: Overdiagnosis and Overtreatment in Cancer: An Opportunity for Improvement. In this study they bring to light the obvious obsession that we have with chemotherapy and radiation for treatment of cancer. They question the means that cancer is diagnosed.
Medical malpractice is negligence committed by a medical professional. While many accidents occur in hospitals and in the practice of medicine in general, some of them could have been avoided. When a physician makes a preventable error that results in injury, the patient may file a medical malpractice suit for damages.
Elements of a Medical Malpractice Claim
For negligence to be “actionable” (having all the components necessary to constitute a viable cause of action — and thus a legitimate lawsuit), the following elements must exist:
- There must be a duty owed to someone;
- There must be a breach of that duty; and
- The breach of that duty must result in harm or damage that is proximately caused by that breach.
“Proximate cause” is a legal term that, in the medical malpractice sense, essentially asks whether, “but for” the alleged negligence of the medical professional, the harm or injury to the patient would have occurred. If the injury still would have occurred regardless of the alleged act of malpractice, then there is no valid claim. See Elements of a Negligence Case for more details.
The Parrish Law Firm medical malpractice attorney works with northern Virginia citizens who have suffered from a health care provider’s misdiagnosis and are looking for fair compensation for their injuries. 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.