A cancer diagnosis can affect your life in the worst way possible. Just hearing the bad news can cause you and your family pain, worry, and anxiousness. A future filled with toxic medications, radiation, surgery, and possible death could be waiting for you. But finding out that your doctor had the power to prevent this future can be devastating.
If your doctor has misdiagnosed your cancer, know that you have legal options. For decades, the Philadelphia cancer misdiagnosis lawyers at Fellerman & Ciarimboli have been assisting people throughout Pennsylvania with their medical malpractice claims. We take the time to listen to your complaint and offer the best possible legal recourse for your situation. We will walk you through the process and represent your rights both inside and outside the courtroom.
A Cancer Misdiagnosis Is More Common Than You Think
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 22.9 million adults in the United States have received a diagnosis of cancer at one point in their lifetime. It was the second leading cause of death in the United States in 2016.
With so many cases of cancer popping up every year, it’s no surprise that misdiagnosis occurs regularly. An ABC News report had found that in reviewing tissue samples from 6,000 cancer patients across the county, John Hopkins Hospital had found one out of every 71 cases was misdiagnosed and up to one out of five cancer cases were misclassified.
Early Diagnosis Is Crucial
It’s extremely important that a cancer diagnosis is made as early as possible. The earlier the cancer is found, the chances of the disease from spreading is lowered. According to the World Health Organization, there are two major components to the early detection of cancer:
- Screening – This usually requires a simple test to identify if the issue you’re experiencing is related to cancer. Examples include mammograms for breast cancer, Pap smears of cervical cancer, or a simple blood test.
- Education – You need to recognize the warning signs of cancer, such as lumps, sores that won’t heal, abnormal bleeding, stomach issues, and chronic hoarseness. If you are experiencing any of these signs, you should inform your doctor immediately.
A failure on the part of a physician to thoroughly investigate symptoms, order appropriate testing, or refer a patient to an oncologist or another cancer specialist can have a significant effect on the patient’s health and outcome.
Standard of Care: When a Misdiagnosis Is Medical Malpractice
When a healthcare provider fails to either diagnosis or misdiagnosis cancer, it’s important to note that it may not be a case of medical malpractice. You will need to prove the following:
- There was an existing relationship between the physician and the patient.
- The doctor was negligent in his duties. For example, despite your complaints about the lump you found under your arm, your doctor fails to take a biopsy to determine if it’s cancer.
- The negligence of the doctor caused injury to the patient. Using the example above, you later find out that the lump is cancerous that has spread to other parts of your body.
You will also need to show that a doctor in a similar specialty would not have misdiagnosed the patient’s illness or condition. You will need to prove one of two things:
- The doctor did not include the correct diagnosis whereas a competent doctor under similar circumstances would have.
- The doctor may have had an accurate diagnosis but failed to perform the appropriate tests or seek opinions for specialists to investigate the viability of the determination.
Sometimes the misdiagnosis comes from not the physician but because of inaccurate results from the laboratory, either through faulty diagnostic equipment or human error. Again, the doctor may not be held liable – but another person might be, such as a technician misreading the pathology slide. And it all rests on whether you were harmed because of the misdiagnosis.
Our PA Cancer Misdiagnosis Lawyers Can Help
We put our trust in doctors, hospitals and other healthcare professionals to accurately diagnose and treat cancer on time. When doctors make the wrong diagnosis or fail to diagnose cancer promptly, patients lose critical time in their battle against the disease. A misdiagnosis can result in pain, suffering, and even death.
If you believe you or a loved one is a victim of medical negligence through a delay in diagnosis or misdiagnosed cancer, call the Pennsylvania cancer misdiagnosis lawyers at Fellerman & Ciarimboli. A medical malpractice claim based on a misdiagnosis of the disease could result in compensation for your pain and suffering, emotional distress, medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.
Contact us today for a free consultation.