Proving a Cancer Misdiagnosis
Visiting a medical professional, when not feeling all that well, is an exercise in trust. This involves the patient relying on the education and experience of the medical professional, and their ability to properly analyze the circumstances and symptoms of the patient in order to develop a treatment plan to correct the situation. However, errors do occur, and, if the error is attributable to a negligent action of the medical professional, the patient may suffer. If so, engaging the services of an experienced Miami medical malpractice attorney is best way to get just compensation. One area in which an error may occur is misdiagnoses, when a medical professional fails to properly diagnose the patient’s condition. This situation happened to a former serviceman, who was misdiagnosed by military physicians, and by the time is was identified as lung cancer, it metastasized throughout the Marine’s entire body. This example shows how crucial a missed medical diagnosis is, as the Marine’s legal counsel alleges that, had the cancer been diagnosed in time, it would have been treatable.
Medical malpractice is a specific form of the legal theory of negligence, which holds that a person may be liable for injuries directly caused by his/her actions, if it can be proven that the action was not in accordance with a legally-recognized expectation. In the medical context, malpractice is proven by the following elements:
- That the medical professional was subject to a standard of care, essentially, a level of competency for the medical professional consistent with his/her medical specialty;
- That the medical professional failed to maintain the standard of care in his/her dealings with the patient;
- That the patient was directly injured as a result of this failure; and
- That the injuries suffered by the patient can be quantifiable as damages.
Missed Cancer Diagnosis
Cancer affects approximately 1.5 million individuals in the United States each year, a number which represents new diagnoses and does not include those already suffering from the disease. Further, as has been repeatedly stated by the medical industry as well as others, early detection is key to controlling the effects of cancer. Thus, time is truly of the essence when it comes to cancer, and when a medical professional fails to diagnose cancer at an early stage, the risk to the patient’s health increases and he/she will be more likely to face complications or severe health concerns as a result.
Missed diagnosis of cancer occurs when a medical professional fails to take into account any number of factors (symptoms, test results, etc.) that should otherwise cause concern and indicate a need for further analysis or treatment of cancer. In other words, misdiagnosis occurs when a medical professional fails to operate pursuant to his/her standard of care. Such factors include not following up when a routine examination produces something unusual, not asking follow-up questions regarding the patient’s symptoms, and many other issues.
The difficulty, however, lies in proving that the misdiagnosis directly led to the patient’s injuries. For this, an experienced medical malpractice attorney can employ a medical expert to illustrate that the failure to maintain the standard of care cost precious time in treating the disease. With the specific instance of cancer, if a medical professional fails to encourage follow up testing if something seems odd, and that something turns out to be cancer, the time lost cannot be recovered, and may, unfortunately, prove to be fatal.
Seek Legal Advice
If you suffered an injury as the result of what you believe to be a medical diagnosis, and you would like to know what options you have against the medical professional, contact the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Pita Weber & Del Prado as soon as possible. We have years of experience in such matters, including the complex issue of missed diagnoses. After analyzing your claims, if we believe that a medical professional missed a diagnosis which directly led to your injury, we will fight to win you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for an initial consultation.