Diagnostic errors can have serious consequences. One of the most common and egregious examples of a delayed diagnosis relates to cancer. Failure to accurately and timely diagnose the existence of cancer can result in delayed treatment, possibly causing the cancer to metastasize and often resulting in physical, psychological and financial harm to the patient.
To file a medical malpractice lawsuit, your injury – or the death of your loved one – must have been due to the negligence of a medical professional. To win this type of case, your Orlando cancer misdiagnosis lawyer or Fort Lauderdale cancer misdiagnosis lawyer must be able to prove that:
- There was a patient/doctor relationship
- The doctor behaved negligently
- The delay in diagnosis actually impacted the patient’s outcome or reduced the patient’s life expectancy
- The patient’s injuries were the result of the doctor’s negligence.
A doctor may only be sued if he or she was hired by the patient to provide medical care. Medical experts testifying on your behalf will need to offer proof that your doctor deviated from the acceptable standard of care. Then, you must be able to prove that your injuries were the direct result of your doctor’s negligence. If your doctor was negligent, but you didn’t sustain any injuries, there is no medical malpractice cause of action. However, if his or her negligence resulted in harm – including physical injury, mental anguish, lost wages, or medical bills, you may have a medical malpractice case.
How Does a Cancer Misdiagnosis Occur?
Cancer can be misdiagnosed in a number of ways. Some of the major ways include the failure of the physician to conduct a complete physical exam, order appropriate and relevant diagnostic tests, carefully review and interpret those diagnostic test results, or follow up with the patient.
The most common cancer misdiagnoses include the following:
Colorectal Cancer – The symptoms of colorectal cancer include abnormal discomfort, persistent diarrhea or constipation, rectal bleeding and fatigue. Patients with these symptoms are sometimes mistakenly diagnosed with colitis, irritable bowel disease or Celiac disease.
Lung Cancer– Early symptoms of lung cancer include wheezing and coughing. However, other symptoms depend on the patient’s overall health and the disease progression. Patients with lung cancer are frequently misdiagnosed with asthma, a bronchial infection or the flu.
Breast Cancer – Despite many effective screening tools such as breast mammograms, ultrasounds and MRls, errors still occur.
Pancreatic Cancer – Abdominal pain, back pain, bloating and nausea are common symptoms of pancreatic cancer, yet many patients are misdiagnosed as having irritable bowel syndrome, pancreatitis or gallstones.
Prostate Cancer – A common cancer, prostate cancer often requires minimal treatment. However, if it isn’t properly diagnosed at an early stage, it may spread to the bladder or other organs.
Cancerous brain tumors – Brain tumors can have a host of different symptoms depending on the tumor’s location, size and rate of growth. Symptoms may include vision, speech and balance problems, severe headaches, nausea, and confusion. Sometimes these cancerous brain tumors are viewed as psychological problems or a normal part of aging.
What Damages Can You Recover?
Depending on the nature and extent of your injuries and whether or not your doctor’s professional negligence resulted in a death, you and your family may be entitled to economic, non-economic and punitive damages, including:
Medical expenses. This is a broad category that includes all past, current and future medical expenses, including emergency room visits, care while in the hospital, medical devices and equipment such as wheelchairs, doctors’ appointments and many other items.
Lost wages and earning capacity. If you must take a leave of absence from work due to your injuries, or you won’t ever be able to resume work normally, you may be compensated for lost wages.
Pain and suffering. Pain and suffering refers to the physical pain and suffering your injuries have caused, and the amount involved will be determined by the nature and extent of your injuries. These damages may also include emotional distress caused by your injuries, such as mental suffering, fear and anxiety.
Loss of consortium. In certain cases, the spouse of a medical malpractice victim may be entitled to damages, including loss of companionship and sexual relations. These damages are most commonly awarded if you have experienced a permanent or life-altering injury.
In addition to the above damages, punitive damages may also be awarded if the judge or jury determines that the medical professional or professionals responsible for your injury acted with gross negligence or maliciousness.
Contact an Orlando Cancer Misdiagnosis Lawyer Today
Medical errors are a major cause of death in the United States, killing more than a quarter of a million people each year. Your Haliczer Pettis & Schwamm, P.A. Orlando cancer misdiagnosis lawyer or Fort Lauderdale cancer misdiagnosis lawyer has extensive experience in working with victims of medical malpractice and understands how sensitive these matters are for patients and their families. Contact us today for a free consultation about your case.