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Cancer is a severe disease that can become fatal when it isn’t diagnosed in time. Failure to diagnose cancer can put a patient’s life in danger. Many types of cancer develop rapidly and are aggressive, requiring quick and effective medical treatment. When a doctor fails to diagnose cancer promptly, cancer can spread, become more severe, and potentially cause the patient’s death.

You must understand your rights if a medical professional fails to diagnose your or a loved one’s cancer. Pursuing a medical malpractice claim can help you recover compensation for the damages you’ve suffered due to your medical provider’s negligence. Contact Dell & Dean, PLLC today to schedule a free case evaluation to learn more about your legal options. Our Long Island cancer medical malpractice attorneys will handle every aspect of your case so you can focus on your medical treatment.

Examples of Negligence Leading to Failure to Diagnose Cancer

Any delay in cancer diagnosis can negatively affect a patient’s prognosis and treatment options. There are several ways in which cancer misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis occur. In some cases, a doctor fails to diagnose a patient with cancer. In other cases, the doctor may correctly state that the patient has cancer but incorrectly classify the type of cancer.

 Other potential causes of delayed or missed cancer diagnosis include the following:

  • A doctor diagnoses a cancerous mass as non-cancerous
  • A cancerous lesion is missed after a biopsy
  • The doctor fails to order proper diagnostic tests such as a biopsy, ultrasound, mammogram, or colonoscopy
  • Tissues and specimen samples are handled improperly
  • A doctor fails to refer the patient to a specialist
  • The doctor improperly classifies a cancerous tumor
  • The doctor improperly grades a cancerous tumor as to its aggressiveness
  • A doctor fails to adequately screen high-risk patients 
  • A doctor fails to consider a family history of cancer
  • Doctors dismiss or fail to understand a patient’s complaints and symptoms
  • Failure to correctly analyze diagnostic images
  • A doctor fails to communicate cancer test results to the primary care physician or patient 

Types of Cancer Involved in Failure to Diagnose Cases

It’s difficult to accurately state how many lives have been saved by a timely cancer diagnosis. Still, diagnosing cancer quickly increases a patient’s prognosis significantly. Depending on the specific type of cancer and its stage, doctors may be able to treat cancer effectively. Quickly diagnosing cancer allows treating physicians to make a proactive plan, giving the patient a better chance of beating the disease. The medical malpractice attorneys at Dell & Dean, PLLC represent clients in a wide range of failure to diagnose cancer cases, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Breast cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Brain cancer
  • Uterine cancer
  • Testicular cancer
  • Skin cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Lymphoma
  • Mesothelioma

Failure to Diagnose Cancer Can Cost Victims’ Lives

A delay in a cancer diagnosis can be among the most severe types of medical malpractice instances. Early detection and treatment of cancer can dramatically improve a patient’s likelihood of survival. Multiple forms of cancer are treatable when they are detected at an early stage. When doctors miss or delay a patient’s diagnosis, cancer will generally spread, increasing the patient’s suffering. More aggressive treatment will be necessary. 

Unfortunately, when cancer has spread significantly, treatment options may become unavailable. For example, surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy may not be available for patients with stage 4 cancer. Some of the most effective treatments can only be performed before cancer reaches a more advanced stage. Failure to diagnose cancer can result in a victim’s death. The more cancer spreads, the more likely cancer will become fatal. In some cases, by the time a victim has been accurately diagnosed, he or she may only have months or weeks left to live.

Holding Negligent Doctors Accountable

Multiple parties may be liable for the failure to diagnose your cancer. Generally, a patient’s doctor bears primary responsibility for the injuries the patient has suffered. However, several other medical professionals and entities could also be liable for failure to diagnose cancer, including the following:

  • Lab technicians
  • Surgeons
  • Medical labs
  • Medical clinics
  • Hospitals
  • Nurses
  • Hospital administrative staff

Additionally, if a physician’s assistant or other healthcare support staff member fails to diagnose cancer, the overseeing doctor could be held responsible. Physician assistants work underneath medical doctors, who are ultimately responsible for any mistakes or negligence made by the PAs. After thoroughly investigating your case, the attorneys at Dell & Dean, PLLC will identify all the liable parties for your injuries.

Proving Liability 

Victims of failure to diagnose cancer can pursue compensation through an insurance settlement or personal injury lawsuit. In both cases, the victim must prove that the defendant’s negligence caused their injuries. First, the plaintiff must prove that the doctor had a doctor-patient relationship with him or her. The plaintiff also needs to show that the medical professional failed to act within the standard of care by failing to order the appropriate tests, accurately interpret lab results, or inquire about the patient’s family history. 

Medical professionals must treat patients under the same or similar conditions as a reasonable doctor would. Finally, the plaintiff must show that the failure to diagnose cancer caused him or her to suffer an injury or illness and suffer damages as a result.

Damages Available in Medical Malpractice Cases Involving Cancer

In addition to the physical pain and suffering patients experience, patients whose cancer has spread will incur costly medical expenses. Treatments may not be covered by insurance. Pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit can help you and your loved ones cover your current and future medical costs. Plaintiffs can also pursue compensation for lost income, lost earning capacity, and pain and suffering.

Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a Long Island Failure to Diagnose Cancer Attorney

If a doctor fails to diagnose your cancer, you may feel angry, overwhelmed, and frustrated. When a doctor fails to diagnose your cancer accurately and quickly, you could be seriously harmed by his or her negligence. Contact Dell & Dean, PLLC today to schedule a free case evaluation and learn more about your legal case. 

Dell & Dean, PLLC, are your dedicated allies for navigating the intricacies of failure to diagnose cancer cases. Anchored in Long Island, we extend our unwavering support to Nassau and Suffolk County residents, as well as the neighborhoods across New York City’s five boroughs: Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, the Bronx, and Manhattan.