Medical Malpractice: Cancer Misdiagnosis

A cancer misdiagnosis is one of the most common forms of medical malpractice. A misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis can cost patients time, money, and potentially life-changing altercations.

According to the American Cancer Society, 1.7 million Americans were diagnosed with a form of cancer in 2013. Out of those patients’ cases, around 10 to 20 percent were misdiagnosed and close to 28 percent of the cases caused life threatening results. Although many cancer misdiagnoses are unreported, experts estimate that close to 40,000 patients die each year as a result.

Doctors often do not report their errors due to the threat of legal action. However, physicians surveyed for the Veteran’s Administration hospital system in Texas admitted to exposure to at least one misdiagnosis every month.

Many cancer patients do not receive proper treatment after symptoms are detected due to the threat of misdiagnosis litigation. These cases of delayed diagnosis can cause patients years on their lives and thousands of dollars in medical costs.

Medical Diagnostic Errors

There are multiple types of errors that qualify as a medical misdiagnosis. Here are the most common types of errors that physicians can make.

Wrong diagnosis: Sometimes, physicians can pick the wrong illness during a diagnostic examination. In some cases, doctors can diagnose a patient with cancer when they are completely cancer-free. Medical malpractice is the result of negligence. Typically, cases are decided by how simple or complex the medical issue may be or what is the particular physician’s specialty.

Delayed diagnosis: If a doctor finds the correct diagnosis of a patient after many tests, time, and medical expenses, a patient may be entitled to legal action depending on the amount of physician negligence. Like all medical malpractice cases, each case is different.

Missed diagnosis: A doctor may pass a patient off as cancer-free, even if they have a difficult to detect type of cancer or are only in the early stages of the disease. Since it’s always better to treat conditions as early as possible, the time between a misdiagnosis and proper diagnosis can cause significant damage to a patient’s health and the disease can become more malignant.

Failure to recognize complications: Pre-existing conditions can create complications to a cancerous illness. If a doctor does not properly take into account a patient’s medical history or current health into active treatments, patients may be able to pursue medical malpractice litigation.

Failure to diagnose a related disease: Due to compromised immune systems, one disease may lead to the spread of another illness. Doctors may correctly diagnose a disease that a patient has, but they are negligent to another in a person’s system. While treatment for one disease may start working, a completely other disease is left to spread or grow more dangerous to a patient’s wellbeing.

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If you believe that you have suffered due to a cancer misdiagnosis, contact us for a free case consultation.