Detecting cancer in a patient as soon as possible is absolutely crucial to protect their wellbeing. The longer cancer goes unnoticed, undiagnosed, and untreated, the more likely it will cause widespread harm. As such, medical providers have a serious responsibility to actively and accurately diagnose cancerous growths whenever possible. Indeed, failing to diagnose cancer after it should have been noticeable through testing is such a severe error, it can constitute medical malpractice.
How a Medical Provider Can Fail to Diagnose Cancer
Simply not diagnosing a patient’s cancer is obviously the root of such a medical malpractice case. However, the reality is there are many missteps a medical provider can make to lead to such a medical error.
In some cases, a doctor might not listen to a patient who complains of chronic pain, disorientation, lack of appetite, blood in their stools and other signs of cancer. Simple tests such as lab work and blood studies may lead to the cause of anemia or to see if there is another cause for belly pain. Some medical providers might not explore their suspicions by scheduling regular future appointments, biopsies, X-rays, CT scans or colonoscopies. Others may actually recognize a problem but diagnose it as a different health complication altogether and therefore, miss the proper testing. In all instances, it can be medical malpractice. Another scenario is that doctors don’t understand or follow current screening protocols, or fail to pay attention to the symptoms and not rule out possibilities because of age.
Important Factors in a Failure to Diagnose Cancer Claim
A medical provider failing to diagnose cancer accurately and on-time is unthinkable, but it might not be enough to constitute medical malpractice. There are key prerequisites that must be met in a medical malpractice claim for a court to consider it valid.
- A doctor-patient relationship existed between the plaintiff and the defendant.
- The doctor either did not use standard medical procedures that would have enabled an accurate diagnosis, or the doctor used standard medical procedures but still failed to make the diagnosis due to negligence or professional ineptness.
- The doctor’s failure to diagnose the patient’s cancer caused that patient to suffer worsened health conditions or illnesses, and increased the risk of harm to the patient by delaying proper testing which could have been improved or prevented if treatment came sooner following an accurate diagnosis.
- The patient suffered damages due to the worsening health conditions, such as more medical costs or significant emotional trauma.
Do you believe that your medical provider’s failure to diagnose your cancer has caused you to suffer unduly, and that it could be proven in a claim? Let Ginsburg & Associates Trial Lawyers and our Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys know what happened during a free initial consultation and we can let you know what to do next and how we can help. Your compensation, comfort, and fair treatment are of utmost important to our team. Call (215) 564-4400 now.