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Is a Cancer Misdiagnosis Considered Medical Malpractice?

No one wants to be diagnosed with cancer, yet if you have a cancerous disease, you need to know so you can begin treatment right away. Cancer is among the most common misdiagnosed medical conditions. Doctors don’t always recognize it or mistake it for another condition, allowing the cancer to progress and the patient’s health to deteriorate.

If you have suffered health complications or a family member has passed away because a doctor failed to diagnose cancer, you may have grounds for legal action. Learn more about a doctor’s duty to diagnose diseases correctly and whether your situation warrants filing a medical malpractice claim.

Why is Cancer Sometimes Misdiagnosed?

It’s important to understand that not all misdiagnoses constitute medical malpractice. Cancer is a complex condition that even the most scrupulous doctors may not immediately recognize for several reasons:

  • Certain cancers are difficult to detect.
  • Symptoms may emulate those of other more common medical conditions.
  • Malignant conditions can sometimes be misconstrued as benign.
  • Doctors may misinterpret test results.

A Doctor’s Duty of Care

The difficulty behind diagnosing certain diseases is not a viable excuse for doctors to make mistakes. Medical professionals have a legal duty to care for their patients to the best of their ability. They are required to take every reasonable measure to communicate, diagnose, warn, and treat patients in a timely manner.

If you think your doctor violated their duty and is responsible for the resulting damages, you must establish that you received substandard care. One way to do this is by hearing another medical expert’s opinion about what a doctor with similar education and training should have done under the circumstances to prevent a misdiagnosis.

When is a Cancer Misdiagnosis Considered Medical Malpractice?

Consider some actions or inactions that may lend credibility to a medical malpractice claim:

  • Dismissing the patient’s complaints
  • Failing to identify readily apparent symptoms
  • Using improper protocols or procedures to test for cancer
  • Forgoing standard cancer diagnosis methods, such as medical scans, blood tests, biopsies, and colonoscopies
  • Misinterpreting CT scans and X-rays
  • Failing to recommend additional testing when the initial tests came back negative
  • Neglecting to refer the patient to a cancer specialist when appropriate

Another crucial aspect to consider is whether a timely diagnosis would have led to a significantly better outcome. For instance, some aggressive cancers have a low survivability rate, and starting treatment a few days or weeks earlier may not have made a difference. Other times, cancer can be treated quite effectively if found before it metastasizes.

Speak with a Medical Malpractice Attorney

The best way to defend your rights as a victim of cancer misdiagnosis is to work with a knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney. The team at Gelman Gelman Wiskow & McCarthy LLC would be happy to discuss the circumstances surrounding your misdiagnosis. We’ll determine whether you have a viable claim and help you take the next step. Contact us at 862-263-0770 today to schedule a free consultation.

VERDICTS & SETTLEMENTS
  • In 2020, we settled or won, at trial/mediation/arbitration, 112 personal injury cases. Our clients recovered over ten million dollars. Our firm set a record in 2020 by settling 15 cases for $200,000.00 or more. In the last eleven years, we have settled/won over one thousand cases and our clients have recovered over 100 million dollars.
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  • Results may vary depeding on your particular facts and legal circumstances.
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