Cancer Misdiagnosis: The Basics Of Bringing a Lawsuit

The day one receives a diagnosis of cancer can be one of the most difficult days in their life. People generally experience feelings of immense shock, denial, and even depression, as their oncologist (a physician specializing in diagnosing and treating cancer) works through their options.  However, it can be even worse in the case of a medical malpractice cancer misdiagnosis, in which an oncologist or general practitioner either makes the wrong diagnosis or fails to make it early enough. This can occur at the initial diagnostic stage, with your normal physician, just as it can occur with a trained oncologist to whom you have been referred.

The dangers with cancer misdiagnosis are potent – patients can lose valuable time in the treatment process, or even have their bodies physically damaged by powerful treatment (chemotherapy, radiation therapy) that is not employed correctly.  Past the patient, family members and loved ones also tend to suffer as the result of cancer misdiagnoses. They see the patient’s life withering away, even as medical professionals assure them there’s nothing to be worried about, and that everything is under control.

The Failure to Diagnose Cancer

With such advances in modern medicine, the success rate for treatment when it comes to many different types of cancer is quite favorable to the patient. When caught early, in the first or second stage, these cancers can be dealt with efficiently and without major damage to the body.  This is where the consequences of misdiagnosis appear. With valuable time lost, ranging from days and weeks to months and years, patients’ prognosis and chances for survival diminish considerably, and treatment and recovery can be significantly prolonged processes.

Much of this is unfortunately based on financial choices on the part of medical personnel and hospital staff, as opposed to sound health-based reasons.  Failing to diagnose cancer is shockingly common.  Referrals to an oncologist can seem unnecessary for a doctor skimming over a patient’s file, as many who are over-booked or overworked tend to believe minor symptoms are emblematic of nothing.  However, this failure can take many forms. It can be as simple as not catching a tumor on a routine exam or x-ray, just as it can be as complex as not noticing that a cancer in the lymph nodes actually originated in the colon.

Filing a Malpractice Claim For Cancer Misdiagnosis

If you believe you or a loved one has been the victim of a cancer misdiagnosis, seeking compensation is a natural desire – it very likely is even a need. However, the process of filing a claim of any sort of medical malpractice is complex, and requires a variety of different criteria to be met.  As a result of this, it is highly recommended you consult a law office in the state where the cancer misdiagnosis occurred. Experienced attorneys will be able to thoroughly examine all of the evidence, and see if you have a legitimate claim or not.

Here are the steps they would then take, in order to fight for your compensation.

First off, the plaintiff must be able to point to an exact moment of failure on the behalf of the physician or oncologist (certain hospitals and other medical institutions may also be held liable for the personnel on their payroll). This is the moment where the doctor either misdiagnosed or should have diagnosed.  The key facet of this part of the process stems from whether the failure was one any doctor would make, or rather a failure on the part of this one physician. This is sometimes referred to as a ‘competence’ clause, as it is determined by whether another, competently-trained expert in the field would make a similar mistake.

From there, assuming the doctor’s error was one another doctor would not have made, the patient would then need to showcase a link between the original misdiagnosis and an injury to the victim.  This can come in the form of physical and/or emotional pain and suffering, a financial burden incurred by additional medical expenses, lost wages from time unable to work, health insurance lost as a result of the condition, etc.

With this, the patient has proven that the injury was preventable, and that the doctor’s negligence is directly responsible. The doctor (and potentially hospital) is then liable for any damages.  This is how a trained attorney with experience in the medical malpractice field would handle a claim of cancer misdiagnosis. To prove it, all of those criteria must be met; if any of them cannot be proven in the eyes of the state, the malpractice claim would be deemed invalid and the patient ineligible for compensation.

The First Step to Recovery After a Misdiagnosis

In the case of you or a loved one being the victim of an alleged cancer misdiagnosis, reaching out as soon as possible to a law office in your area is pivotal. The statute of limitations in Michigan is just two years from the initial misdiagnosis, leaving you very little time to pursue any malpractice claims.  Contact The Clark Law Office today at +1 (517) 347-6900.