How To Handle Cancer Misdiagnosis

Cancer misdiagnosis

Nobody wants to hear that they have been diagnosed with cancer but it’s even worse when you have cancer and it is diagnosed as something else. When a patient deals with cancer misdiagnosis, cancer treatment is inevitably delayed. This delay costs the patient valuable time that they would have had to receive appropriate cancer treatment at an earlier stage of their cancer when it might have been more effective. In some cases, patients lose their lives to treatable cancer because of delayed diagnosis. Sadly, it is estimated that at least 40,000 people die each year from diagnostic failures in U.S. hospitals alone and approximately 10-20% of all cancer cases are misdiagnosed.

How to recognize cancer misdiagnosis

Most doctors work hard to take care of their patients but there are situations that leave a patient feeling like they didn’t get the support or care they needed. There are several reasons that it may make sense to get a second opinion for your cancer diagnosis, including:

  • You believe your doctor is not taking your symptoms seriously
  • You want to discuss other treatment options that your doctor isn’t open to
  • Your doctor isn’t sure if you have cancer
  • Your doctor believes you have cancer but doesn’t know what type or stage your cancer may be in
  • You have a type of cancer that needs to be treated by a different specialist

While some of these situations may be frustrating, they would not necessarily rise to the level of misdiagnosis.

Misdiagnosis can be caused by:

  • Failure to consider medical history
  • Failure to perform a thorough and complete physical exam
  • Failure to recommend and/or order diagnostic tests after symptoms were identified
  • Failure to refer to appropriate specialists
  • Failure to recognize early warning signs and symptoms (that they should have observed in the exam)
  • Failure to understand radiological or laboratory test results or to communicate test results to patient
  • Errors in testing procedures
  • Communication errors between your doctors and/or medical facilities
  • Failure to recommend or offer cancer screening that follows current medical guidelines

What to do if you believe that you were misdiagnosed

If you believe that your illness has been misdiagnosed because of any of the above (or other) reasons or your doctor tells you that you were misdiagnosed, it’s time to seek a second medical opinion and contact a medical malpractice attorney.

When speaking to your doctors, ask as many questions as possible and speak clearly about your concerns. It may be worthwhile to have both doctors speak to each other about your case, especially if they disagree about your diagnosis.

Keep copies of all medical records related to your case, including doctors visit transcripts or recordings, pathology reports, and hospital stays.

How do I know if my misdiagnosis is medical malpractice?

The best way to understand if you have a viable medical malpractice case is to discuss your injuries with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. The attorney will assess the elements of your claim to make a determination about taking your case. There are four elements of malpractice:

  1. A duty of care was owed to the patient (doctor patient relationship)
  2. There was a breach of duty (negligence or malicious intent)
  3. The injury was caused by the breach
  4. The injury caused damages such as pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, wrongful death, etc.

Common types of cancer involved in cancer misdiagnosis cases

The types of cancer that are responsive to early intervention are the most likely to be involved in cancer misdiagnosis claims because the delay in diagnosis caused injury. This list includes:

  • Colon cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Cervical, ovarian, and uterine cancer
  • Testicular cancer
  • Skin cancer and melanoma
  • Kidney or renal cancer

Work with a Medical Malpractice lawyer

Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis cases should be handled by a medical malpractice lawyer who has experience investigating complex medical cases. All the specific factors will be reviewed, including an assessment of whether a diagnosis could have been made sooner had the doctor exercised reasonable care to identify your disease. The medical malpractice law firm should have access to a team of medical professionals who can weigh in on your situation and provide expert testimony if the case goes to trial. Most importantly, they will help you gather evidence and build a case to help you fight for the settlement you deserve.

If you or a loved one is suffering from an advanced stage of cancer due to a failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis, seek the advice of an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.

The Seattle Personal Injury Attorneys You Want on Your Side

The personal injury attorneys at Tinker Law Firm have been winning birth injury, medical malpractice, and personal injury cases for individuals and their loved ones in Seattle and across Washington State since 1974. We seek justice for injury victims who have been harmed by preventable medical errors, and the negligent or abusive actions of another. Our clients pay no fees or expenses to file a personal injury claim; our firm advances out-of-pocket expenses and is only reimbursed when we recover a settlement on your behalf. Do not delay; personal injury claims in Washington State have a statute of limitations, which means they must be filed within a certain time from the date of the injury.

Call us now at (206) 752-4366 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled and experienced injury attorneys.