During the first half of the 20th century, cancer was such a scary illness that the word itself was often whispered rather than spoken aloud. While the medical profession has made great strides in diagnosis and treatment of many forms of the disease, cancer is still a formidable adversary in modern life. Depending on the type of error, a cancer misdiagnosis can prevent early intervention and your possible cure, resulting in an untimely death, create unnecessary fear, or lead to unnecessary treatment.
If you have had a cancer misdiagnosis in Tennessee and suffered serious consequences, you should consult Cummings Law, a premium medical malpractice firm located in Nashville. We pride ourselves on giving every client personal attention and being good listeners. Once we learn the specifics of your case, we will clarify your options and fight with all our power to win you meaningful compensation.
Not All Cancer Misdiagnosis Are Grounds for a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
It is important to understand that mistakes happen among medical professionals as they do among the rest of the population. A medical malpractice claim is not viable, however, unless a misdiagnosis of cancer occurs through negligence that likely made the outcome worse.
Proving Liability for a Cancer Misdiagnosis
To have a valid medical malpractice claim for a cancer misdiagnosis, you must be able to prove that the individual who made the mistake did not provide appropriate care within what is considered “the standard of care.” This issue requires the testimony of a medical expert stating that a competent medical professional with reasonable skill would have acted differently under the same circumstances and what your provider did or did not do was negligence.
Often it is possible to show that the doctor did not follow the usual protocol of making a differential diagnosis by eliminating all other possible causes of the patient’s symptoms until identifying the correct answer. If diagnostic tests were not ordered, administered poorly, or mistakenly interpreted, we may have a solid case. Also, if the doctor you consulted needed another provider’s help but did not refer you to a better-informed specialist, that failure may be negligence that supports pursuing a claim.
Another important thing to be aware of is that the misdiagnosis alone, even if the mistake was made through negligence, is not sufficient cause for a successful lawsuit. Besides being able to prove that negligence occurred, you must also be able to prove that you were harmed by the error — in terms of pain, unnecessary surgery and/or disfigurement, loss of income or in some other substantive way that would not have occurred without that negligence occurring — to be able to make a claim for compensation.
Because of the complexity of the laws surrounding cancer misdiagnosis, it is essential that you consult with Cummings Law to let an experienced, top-notch medical malpractice lawyer analyze the issues, advise you from experience, and help guide you through the legal process. We have the in-depth knowledge and judgment to evaluate whether your case is viable. We will not encourage you to pursue a medical malpractice claim unless we think the proof supports such a claim that we can win substantial damages for you and your family. If we do take your case, you need not worry about any financial pressure. Our firm does not charge a fee to consider a case, and we only receive an attorney’s fee if we recover money for you via a settlement or via a trial verdict.
Causes of Cancer Misdiagnosis
There are a number of causes for cancer misdiagnoses, including:
- Incomplete or careless physical examination
- Faliure to communicate with other health care providers
- Failure to order diagnostic imaging tests
- Sloppy testing procedures
- Defective equipment
- Misread X-rays, mammograms, MRIs
- Poorly administered sonograms
- Mislabeled or contaminated lab specimens
According to the Journal of Clinical Oncology, cancer misdiagnoses occur as much as 28 percent of the time and up to 44 percent of the time for some types of cancer.
Cancer Misdiagnoses Can Be Deadly
Though being told you have cancer is never pleasant, learning that the disease has been caught early and can be overcome relatively easily is always good news. Hearing that the lesion or symptom you were worried about is benign is always a wonderful relief. Even so, because misdiagnosis is always a possibility, it is often wise to get a second opinion to make sure the first doctor did not misread the report or that the report itself was not flawed. As most of us know, there are many dangers inherent in having undiscovered cancer, particularly if it is a fast-growing variety, is on the verge of metastasis, or is a type of cancer that doesn’t have severe symptoms until its end stages. Time makes a huge difference with regard to cancer. An earlier diagnosis allows for earlier treatment, which increases the likelihood of a good outcome.
If your doctor failed to diagnose your cancer or staged it incorrectly, you may experience needless suffering. In some cases, this means that you will have to undergo harsh chemotherapy or surgery that would not have been required had your cancer been discovered or staged correctly in the first place. In other cases, this means that you are confronting likely death in the near future.
If your doctor failed to diagnose your cancer and it metastasized (spread) as a result and thus shortening your lifespan, and if we can prove that a reasonable physician would have handled the situation differently, we will tell you that you have a strong lawsuit for medical malpractice. While the monetary damages Cummings Law will fight vigorously to win for you will not change the fact that a serious mistake occurred that affected you or your family, that monetary compensation will provide enormous security and comfort for you and your family, now and in the future. Brian Cummings has a well-earned reputation as a sharp negotiator and a determined litigator. You can trust our office to win you the substantial compensation you’re entitled to.
False Positives Can Be as Detrimental as False Negatives
Most people fear that cancer may be missed and that failure to treat it may have fatal consequences. Though this is certainly possible, false positive diagnoses of cancer can also be disastrous. Factors that may lead to false positive diagnoses include overly sensitive screening equipment or overly aggressive assessments by oncologists.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, as many as 31% of all breast cancers are overdiagnosed, meaning that in many cases, patients have unnecessary radiation and/or chemotherapy or tumors that would never threaten the patient’s life are surgically removed. In worst case scenarios, unnecessary mastectomies, or other disabling or disfiguring surgeries, may be performed.
The impact of false positive cancer misdiagnoses can result in treatments that cause severe side effects, including nausea and vomiting, extreme fatigue, rashes, and even the development of other malignancies, besides causing you to run up unnecessary medical expenses. Unnecessary surgery may require reconstruction and rehabilitation and will certainly result in pain and suffering and possible disfigurement.
Contact Our Nashville Cancer Misdiagnosis Lawyer
We know what you are going through seems unbearable. You may feel abandoned by the medical profession, alone in your quest for justice, and too worn out to fight. Don’t worry. When you come to us we will sort everything out and clarify your options to help you when you need the best help available.
We promise to treat you with compassion and respect. We will bring our energy and legal strength to the battle to make sure you receive every bit of compensation you deserve for medical expenses, lost income for the past and going forward, and pain and suffering. When we take your case we feel sure we can win and will not charge you any fee until we do. Contact us for a consultation regarding the circumstances of your case.