Early cancer diagnosis and treatment increase the patient’s chances of survival. However, at times, medical doctors make mistakes and either misdiagnose or delay the diagnosis. Each of these cases is dangerous as cancer may be harder to treat or could have become terminal.
In this case, what options does the patient have? Well, if the misdiagnosis was due to medical negligence, the patient can sue for damages. The chances of success are dependent on the Syracuse misdiagnosis law firm engaged to handle the case. The patient should strive to hire the best lawyers with knowledge, experience, and expertise handling similar cases.
What Are the Common Misdiagnosed Cancers?
- Breast cancer
- Lung cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Colorectal cancer
How Does Delayed Diagnosis Occur?
Imagine, a patient who visits their doctor complain of severe digestive issues like cramping, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and blood in their stool. The doctor performs some tests on the patient and diagnoses him or her with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. In the next step, the patient is getting treatment for IBS. However, after some time the symptoms persist and a different doctor diagnoses that the patient suffers from colorectal cancer.
The damage to this delayed diagnosis could be fatal. And yes, this cancer would’ve been curable if the doctor had diagnosed the disease correctly. Unfortunately, the doctor didn’t consider the possibility that the patient could’ve been suffering from cancer. Probably, the doctor didn’t bother to check the cancer risks for the patient or order appropriate tests that could’ve given the right diagnosis.
As the patient gets treatment for IBS, the cancerous cells are still spreading. Probably by the time they realize its cancer, it has gone beyond the treatable points or it has metastasized.
The same applies to other types of cancers like prostate, or breast cancers. In some cases, the doctor fails to recognize the signs of breast cancer or doesn’t undertake further tests to ascertain the presence of cancerous cells. In so doing, the doctor misses crucial breast cancer diagnosis.
The effects of late diagnosis force the patient to undergo invasive medical procedures like colectomy or mastectomy. Further, the patient undergoes periods of pain and suffering where they cannot work or enjoy life. Unfortunately, these patients may succumb to their ailment.
All these situations form a ground for medical malpractice claims.
Establishing Medical Malpractices in Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis Cases
A patient or their family can file a claim against a doctor or healthcare provider for medical malpractice. The burden of proof for these claims rests on the plaintiff who must satisfy the court that:
- A doctor-patient relationship existed.
- The conduct by the healthcare professional fell below the standard of care that the patient deserved to receive.
- That the doctor acted negligently and this negligence caused harm or injury to the patient.
- That the patient suffered damages due to this negligence.
The question is, what constitutes medical negligence? It means that a doctor or healthcare professional didn’t do something which they were supposed to do. Or simply, they didn’t do what a medical professional of the same skills and experience would’ve done.
What’s the Worth of Your Cancer Misdiagnosis Claim?
Well, every cancer misdiagnosis case is different. And the amount of damages awarded is dependent on the merits of these cases.
- The Special/Economic Damages
These are quantifiable present and future expenses that patients are facing due to the wrong or delayed diagnosis. For instance, in cancer misdiagnosis, special damages can be applied to the costs of unnecessary cancer procedures and treatments. For delayed diagnosis, the damages can be awarded to compensate for the lack of timely diagnosis and treatment. Further, the court may award special damages to meet the cost of future treatments.
- General Damages
These are less quantifiable harm a patient suffers from the misdiagnosis. These damages aim to award compensation for the pain inflicted on your quality of life. For instance, if a cancer misdiagnosis affects your mental, emotional, and social well-being, then you’re entitled to general damages.
- Punitive Damages
Well, these are like what they sound like. They’re given to the defendant as a punishment for their actions and inactions. The damages act as a deterrent to prevent similar conditions in the future.
What Role Does a Cancer Malpractice Lawyer Play?
The cancer malpractice claims are lengthy and very complex. Even worse, coping with the impacts of a serious medical error could be emotionally and physically draining. For this, you need to engage a competent lawyer to handle the case as you work on your well-being.