Cancer misdiagnosis can be a serious issue for an individual. Cancer patients’ survival rates have increased significantly during the last decades. If cancer is diagnosed early enough, even in rare and aggressive forms of the disease, it can be treatable effectively with optimum results. However, even the slightest possibility of being diagnosed with cancer can fill even the bravest people with fear and anxiety. We all know the key to effectively treating cancer is early diagnosis.
Many cancer patients face the problem of initial cancer misdiagnosis that leads to late treatment.
Regardless of the latest health science advancements, cancer continues to be seriously affecting people in Georgia and throughout the country.
If you, or someone you love, have cancer and feel that your doctor failed to diagnose your disease on time or did not provide you with proper medical care, you should seek advice from a medical malpractice lawyer in Georgia. No one is prepared for what lies ahead, and the high costs of delayed diagnosis cancer treatment should be compensated.
Causes of Cancer Misdiagnosis
The doctors are responsible for both lack of communication and lack of information in most cancer misdiagnosis cases.
Cancer patients often complain to their doctors of pain and exhaustion, particularly in the affected body area. For instance, a lung cancer patient may complain of difficulty in breathing. These vague symptoms could indicate many things; however, the doctor should ask the patient questions, such as the symptoms’ duration.
Sadly, in some instances, doctors do not dedicate enough time to listen to their patients. Discussing with a patient for ten seconds is not enough time to evaluate the situation appropriately. Vague symptoms get quickly dismissed, and they move to their next patient appointment.
Furthermore, the lack of concrete information adds to the above situation. The doctors often do not order diagnostic tests, under the uncertainty of the insurance companies might not cover the cost. Instead, they may be so confident with their diagnosis that they do not feel there is a necessity for further testing.
Making a diagnosis based on their vague opinion of what might be causing the problem, without hard data to validate it, is common among many doctors.
Types of Cancer Misdiagnosis
In summary, there are different types of misdiagnosis:
- False-positive cancer diagnosis – even though this sounds relieving, the stress and anxiety a person could go through could lead to traumatic results and doctors’ distrust issues. Moreover, there is always the case of the person going through unnecessary and dangerous medical treatment.
- The wrong type of cancer diagnosed – a doctor may be inexperienced with a specific type of cancer and its symptoms and erroneously diagnose the patient. As a consequence, the wrong treatment methods will be followed with devastating results for the patient.
- Diagnosis delayed – in most cases, delayed diagnosis can be catastrophic. Cancer will continue to grow and spread in the patient’s body, with unfortunately irreversible results.
- No medical history and risk factors – many times, patients may not have a family history of cancer. Specifically, in lung cancer cases, some patients do not smoke. When the patient has no obvious risk factors, doctors usually do not diagnose cancer.
Who Is Legally Liable in Misdiagnosis Cases?
Legally, the doctor is accountable for the patients’ health care. When doctors face the responsibility of medical malpractice, they often try to blame the nurses.
Doctors have the legal obligation to act in the best interest of their patients, without being distracted by other concerns, like financial profit. When they do not keep their medical care standards high, for example, not making all the tests required for a proper diagnosis, they may be held liable for damages. The damages include non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering, and economic losses, such as medical expenses.
Furthermore, punitive damages can also be claimed in cancer misdiagnosis cases to prevent future patients from experiencing medical malpractice. The punishment of the wrongful actor also gives justice to the victims and their families.
Georgia medical malpractice law (statute 51-1-27) states that any person that practices medicine or surgery that does not use “a reasonable degree of care and skill” resulting in injury can be sued for medical malpractice.
Contact A Georgia Medical Malpractice Attorney
Contact Joe Durham Jr., P.C. law firm today, for your free consultation. If you or a member of your family are victims of cancer misdiagnosis, whether it was false positive, inaccurate, or delayed diagnosis, you may be entitled to significant compensation.
Considering the high cost of cancer treatment requirements in cancer misdiagnosis, the meaning of the coverage of these expenses for the victim could be the gap between life and death.