Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming for any individual. People react to the news that they have cancer in many ways. However, most people feel angry and betrayed if they find that a preventable misdiagnosis of cancer affected their prognosis. Misdiagnosis of cancer is a strong reason to contact a Tennessee medical malpractice attorney, who can provide the legal guidance and support you need.
How Common Is It for a Doctor to Miss a Cancer Diagnosis?
Unfortunately, misdiagnosis of cancer is more common than most people realize. Approximately, over 1.3 million people are diagnosed each year with cancer. Researchers at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore found one in seventy-one cases are misdiagnosed when reviewing tissue samples from 6,000 cancer patients. Roughly twenty percent of the cancer cases are misclassified.
A cancer misdiagnosis can impact a patient’s chance of survival. Early detection and treatment are still the best options that most cancer patients have of surviving a cancer diagnosis.
What Is Meant by a Cancer Misdiagnosis?
Misdiagnosis of cancer can occur for several reasons. The error or negligence may lie with the physician, oncologist, radiologist, medical facility, or another party. The misdiagnosis may have occurred because several parties made errors or failed in their duty of care.
Some of the reasons why a cancer diagnosis may be missed include:
- Failure to recognize symptoms
- Ignoring reported symptoms that indicate early stages of cancer
- Failing to order diagnostic tests
- Errors or mistakes during a diagnostic test
- Incorrectly assessing the results of diagnostic tests
- Improper training in advanced diseases
- The symptoms mimic or are similar to the symptoms of another disease
A misdiagnosis may not result from negligence, error, or malpractice. However, many cases are due to malpractice. The only way to determine if a cancer misdiagnosis was the result of medical malpractice is to conduct a thorough, comprehensive investigation into the circumstances that led to misdiagnosis.
Proving the Cancer Misdiagnosis Was Medical Malpractice
For the misdiagnosis to rise to the level of medical malpractice, an attorney must prove these elements of malpractice:
- There was a patient-physician relationship;
- That the physician breached the duty of care in negligently failing to diagnose the cancer correctly; and,
- The physician’s negligence caused the patient harm.
Proving negligence often involves establishing the acceptable standard of care. In other words, asking what a physician in the same field of practice would do under similar circumstances? Would another physician have made the diagnosis? This element of a medical malpractice case involving misdiagnosis is one of the most difficult elements to prove, but it is possible.
Contact a Tennessee Medical Malpractice Attorney to Discuss Your Case
A medical malpractice attorney investigates the circumstances of your case and consults with experts to determine if negligence or malpractice caused your cancer misdiagnosis. You have limited time to file a claim. Therefore, it is best to contact an experienced attorney as soon as you suspect malpractice. Schedule a consult with our Tennessee medical malpractice attorney today.