Cancer Misdiagnosis: Do I Have a Case?
Cancer diagnoses are never welcomed news, but when timely and accurate, they provide the opportunity for patients to seek the treatment they need and better their prognosis. Unfortunately, medical professionals who provide substandard care during diagnostic testing can strip patients of that opportunity, enable the progression of their condition and suffering, and decrease their chances of recovery.
Because medical malpractice is an area of law which places accountability on health care providers in whom we place our trust, and holds them liable for providing substandard care, victims of cancer misdiagnosis may have the right to seek legal action. Due to the challenging legal and medical issues involved, cancer misdiagnosis cases demand the attention of proven and experienced attorneys.
Our medical malpractice lawyers at Shrager & Sachs fight for patients and families that have suffered at the hands of negligent medical professionals across Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and beyond. Our team understands the elements of proving medical negligence, as well as ways to navigate challenges inherent to complex medical information and disputes over quality of care and liability. Because we know these cases are ones of significant emotional turbulence, we treat clients compassionately, and fight aggressively on their behalves.
When is it malpractice?
Because early detection and intervention is so critical to treating cancer, it becomes the responsibility of the medical professionals in whom we place our trust to accurately identify when the disease is present. Because it can be difficult to determine when malpractice occurs, and because not all cases involving cancer amount to negligence, we want to discuss when patients may have the right to pursue a claim against their provider for misdiagnosing cancer.
- Was there a legal duty present? In order for there to be a valid basis for a medical malpractice claim, patients must have had a professional doctor-patient relationship with the physician in question. Delays in diagnoses may result from patients not seeking medical attention in time, in which case there wouldn’t be a doctor-patient relationship.
- Was medical negligence involved? Whether or not there is a valid claim for malpractice involves determining whether negligence played a role. To determine this, our attorneys draw from our extensive medical malpractice experience and work with experts who can help us assess the quality of care delivered by physicians and whether it amounted to negligence. In terms of malpractice, medical negligence is defined as substandard care. This means a doctor may be negligent if they committed errors that caused them to miss a diagnosis any reasonably skillful medical professional would have been able to diagnose under the same or similar circumstances. For example, a medical professional may have committed acts of negligence by failing to order appropriate tests, administering those tests incorrectly, or interpreting test results and patient symptoms erroneously.
- Did a patient suffer damages as a result? Patients must have suffered damages in some way in order to have a valid claim. Simply receiving a misdiagnosis does not mean patients can be compensated, especially if they obtain a timely second opinion and are able to begin treatment without suffering consequences. However, misdiagnosis can and often does lead to considerable damages, including delayed treatment, the progression of a disease and patient’s suffering, and even inappropriate, costly, or harmful treatment designed to treat another condition. In the most devastating cases, patients may succumb to otherwise treatable conditions if they do not receive the treatment they need.
Medical malpractice is known for being a difficult area of law, as it entails complex concepts of medical negligence, fault, and liability, and complex issues concerning the nature of medical conditions and appropriate standards of care. By working with attorneys who have experience in this field, as well as the necessary resources and professional connections they require, patients can better understand whether they have the right to pursue a cancer misdiagnosis claim, and a recovery of their damages.
To discuss your case personally with an award-winning attorney from Shrager & Sachs, contact us for a FREE consultation.