IF YOU EXPERIENCED AN ILLNESS OR DISEASE THAT WAS NOT DIAGNOSED EARLY ENOUGH FOR USEFUL TREATMENT, TALK TO OUR DELAYED DIAGNOSIS LAWYER. THE MOST FREQUENT TYPES OF DELAYED DIAGNOSES LAWSUITS WE SEE INVOLVE CANCER.
You or a loved one may suffer serious harm, and your life may be cut short because of a delayed diagnosis of cancer. Tumors may grow, it may spread, reduce your treatment options, cause disfiguring surgery, additional chemotherapy and radiation therapy and possibly turn what may have been a treatable cancer, or one that could have been a chronic condition, into a fatal disease if not promptly treated. If additional treatment is needed, the side effects may be more severe and long-lasting.
We all rely on doctors and other medical providers to diagnose and treat us competently, but they may fail to recognize or report symptoms of what turns out to be cancer. Instead of starting treatment, the disease may be allowed to progress, making helpful treatment more difficult or impossible.
This might be grounds for a delayed diagnosis lawsuit. Get your free consultation today to find out if you have a case. Give us a call at (570) 323-8711 or use our online contact form to reach us.
Our Delayed Diagnosis of Cancer Lawyer Can Help with Your Case
Medical professionals and facilities may have a duty to patients to use their training and tools like MRIs, CT scans, blood tests, EKGs and other tests to make the proper diagnosis and to begin treatment promptly where required. If medical professionals do not do what they should, what could have been treatable cancer could cause serious harm or death. In these situations, with the help of a delayed diagnosis lawyer, a patient may have a valid negligence, or medical malpractice, claim.
A Delayed Cancer Diagnosis Means the Cancer Will Grow Stronger While You Weaken
Cancer is like a parasite. Instead of healthy cells functioning normally to make your life possible, they mutate. Your body’s resources should be used to keep you healthy; instead, malignant cells use them to grow and spread. Your body weakens and your health suffers because organs slowly stop functioning or they malfunction and harm your body. You can weaken to the point that an infection you would normally fight off threatens your life.
Once the mutations start, cancer cells need your body’s help to reproduce, a weakened immune system that can’t destroy the cells fast enough, and time. A delayed diagnosis gives cancer cells time to do more damage. It’s time you can’t afford to give. If you’re in this situation, you should talk to a delayed diagnosis lawyer.
A Delayed Diagnosis of Cancer Could Have Many Causes
A delayed cancer diagnosis could happen in many ways, including:
- During your regular check-up, physical symptoms are missed or tests are not ordered.
- You see your doctor because you’re experiencing a cancer symptom, but you do not recognize that cancer is causing it. Your physician misses the fact that it could be cancer, fails to order tests, doesn’t refer you to a specialist, or misdiagnoses your suffering something else.
- While you are being treated for another condition, signs of cancer are missed by your healthcare team. An X-ray, CT scan, or blood test meant to check on your progress for that issue also shows signs of active cancer development. Since that’s not what they are looking for, it can be missed.
- X-ray or CT scan results could be misinterpreted by a radiologist, or the report could state that cancer may be present but your doctor doesn’t read the report or does not take it seriously.
- A biopsy or cytology sample could be mistakenly reported by a pathologist as not malignant.
A Delayed Cancer Diagnosis Could Greatly Complicate Treatment or Lead to a Patient’s Death
Medical malpractice can take many forms, but few are as potentially deadly as failing to diagnose a patient with cancer. It may be a life-or-death mistake. Some cancers are treatable and can be cured if they do not spread to another part of the body. A delay allowing that spread could be the difference between successful treatment and a terminal illness, according to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Those whose cancer treatment is delayed by a month may have a 6% to 13% higher risk of dying that increases as the delay drags on, according to a study by Canadian and UK researchers, reports Medical Xpress. They looked at seven different types of cancer that could be treated by surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.
The researchers calculated that delays of eight to 12 weeks further increased the risk of death. An eight-week delay in breast cancer surgery would increase the risk of death by 17%. A 12-week delay would boost the risk of death by 26%.
Delayed treatment may not cause your death, but it could make treatment more difficult, take more time, have more side effects, and could result in permanent health problems. This additional treatment would result in more medical bills, and you may lose your job because of all the time you need to take off. You may suffer more physical and emotional pain due to extended treatments as well.
In Pennsylvania, cancer diagnosis cases are frequently subjected to an increased risk of harm test. In other words, experts opine that the missed diagnosis or delay in diagnosis increased the risk of harm and, under some circumstances, may be enough to get a case to a jury. The increased risk of harm can be applied in other types of cases as well under appropriate circumstances.
A Delayed Diagnosis Lawyer Can Hold Accountable Those Responsible for the Delay
If you or a loved one has suffered severe harm or a family member has died due to a delayed cancer diagnosis or misdiagnosis, we may be able to help. When the delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis results from negligent care by a medical professional or facility, you should seek the help of a delayed cancer diagnosis lawyer to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.
Medical malpractice cases are complex. Since evidence may be lost and witnesses hard to find, or their memories may fade, it is vital to contact a delayed diagnosis lawyer who is experienced in medical malpractice cases as soon as possible so we can start gathering evidence.
Our Delayed Diagnosis Lawyer May be Able to Help You or Your Family
The skilled and experienced Pennsylvania delayed diagnosis lawyer Clifford A. Rieders of Rieders, Travis, Dohrmann, Mowrey, Humphrey & Waters has spent decades honing his skills and successfully representing Pennsylvania families who have suffered an injury or loss due to negligence and malpractice by medical professionals and hospitals. Our delayed cancer diagnosis lawyers offer personal attention and loyalty to every client, aggressively fighting for their right to compensation. Whether in settlement negotiations or pursuing a favorable trial verdict, we are thoroughly prepared and committed to achieving a just outcome. With our experienced staff, we offer strength in experience while providing top-notch personal service.
We offer a free consultation to examine the facts of your situation and determine the best way to proceed with your case. Naturally, there is no way to predict or guarantee results
Contact us today if you even suspect a delayed diagnosis of cancer by calling (570) 323-8711 or by using our online contact form.
Given the Consequences, a Delayed Diagnosis Lawsuit May be Justified
Cancer is the second leading cause of death of Americans after heart disease. For 2020, the American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates there will be 1.8 million cancer diagnoses, with 606,520 dying of the disease. About 80,240 of those diagnoses and 27,850 deaths will be in Pennsylvania. Only four states will have more.
Timely Diagnosis Can Make a Life-or-Death Difference
If cancer is diagnosed early, generally, it’s easier to treat, according to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. If cancer is allowed to advance, according to the ACS, the survival rate can drop dramatically. These are five-year survival rates for various cancers, both when they are limited to where they started and after they’ve spread to distant parts of the body:
- Breast cancer: 99% localized, 27% distant from original location
- Non-small cell lung cancer: 61% localized, 6% distant from original location
- Prostate cancer: nearly 100% localized, 31% distant from original location
- Colorectal cancer: 90% localized, 14% distant from original location.
These numbers show how important it is to have a timely cancer diagnosis to prevent the spread of the disease to other parts of the body. Unfortunately, survival rates can be much worse after it spreads.
Areas of Misdiagnosis and Delayed Diagnosis
As delayed cancer diagnosis lawyers with decades of experience, we can advise you about how negligence can result in problems with a timely diagnosis. There are several possible ways or times when a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis can happen:
- Emergency room misdiagnosis or hospital errors
- Mistakes made by pathologists examining tumor samples or cytology
- Diagnostic mistakes related to surgery
- Diagnostic mistakes involving radiology, CT scans, X-rays and other imaging
- Failures in communication when physicians fail to read or understand pathology, radiology or lab results
- Failure to recommend standard screening tests such as mammograms or colonoscopies
- Failure to provide pap smears and prostate exams
- Failure to or a delay in referring patients to specialists.
If you believe your delayed diagnosis relates to one of the errors or failures listed above, get in touch with us to discuss your case. Call our experienced attorneys for your free consultation at (570) 323-8711.
What’s Needed to Show Negligence Resulting in Delayed Diagnosis?
Diagnostic negligence, or medical malpractice, can occur when a serious condition is not correctly diagnosed or the diagnosis is delayed. As a result, it may not be possible to cure, delay or limit the disease, which may have occurred if the diagnosis had been made correctly, in a timely way.
Pennsylvania law sometimes calls these “increased risk of harm” cases since the doctor’s malpractice caused the patient to lose the chance to avoid a dangerous outcome. For your case to be successful, you would need to prove:
- The healthcare professional owed you a duty of care (the standard of care that other professionals in the field with similar training would provide under the circumstances).
- That duty was violated or breached. Because of what the healthcare professional did, or failed to do, your care was less than the standard of care.
- That breach of duty was the factual cause of the delay in correctly diagnosing you or was a factual cause of increased risk of harm
- As a result of that breach and delay in proper care, you suffered harm. You needed more treatment, you lost your job, incurred more medical bills, went through additional pain and suffering, loss of life’s pleasures, the disease or treatment resulted in additional side effects, suffered disfigurement, or the treatment was unsuccessful.
If you have symptoms that could mean you have cancer, doctors should normally make what is known as a differential diagnosis.
Doctors should be aware of the many types of cancer and their symptoms and rule out conditions that are not caused by the symptoms. Doctors must pay attention to the most life-threatening possibilities, such as cancer. The standard of care may have been to use available tools such as mammograms, MRIs, CT scans, EKGs, blood tests, biopsies and, when appropriate, a referral to a specialist.
You May Have a Valid Negligence Claim for Any Number of Reasons
There are several ways in which a medical provider or hospital can cause a delay in your diagnosis. The negligent acts may include:
- A doctor discounts or ignores your medical history or your family’s cancer history.
- Tests, X-rays, CT scans or MRIs aren’t ordered.
- Test results are misunderstood or ignored and accurate information isn’t given to you.
- The provider is overwhelmed by his or her workload, is suffering serious personal or professional problems and is not focused enough on you.
- The provider fails to consider that cancer might be the cause. He or she focuses only on other, more common explanations for your symptoms or feels you’re not old enough to likely have cancer.
- A physical exam was not properly done.
- Medical records may be incomplete or contain incorrect information. They can cause confusion or a misunderstanding of what you’re going through, especially if there have been a number of healthcare providers and you have a complex medical history.
Not every misdiagnosis is medical negligence.
- Medical malpractice law may allow medical providers discretion in deciding how to treat patients.
- There needs to be evidence the delay caused harm. Depending on your type of cancer, earlier treatment may not have had a greater chance of success.
Winning a Delayed Diagnosis Lawsuit
In a delayed cancer diagnosis case, you must establish that the healthcare provider failed to diagnose you in a timely manner and the delay was long enough to make a difference in your outcome. Sometimes there may be a delay in diagnosis claim as a result of negligence by nurses or staff. There may be claims based upon corporate negligence where there was not a proper system in place to prevent the misdiagnosis.
In general, there is a two-year time limit for filing medical malpractice claims in Pennsylvania, although there may be additional time allowed for medical injuries involving children and where the relationship between the care and the harm could not have been ascertained by a reasonable person. The statute of limitations, discovery/tolling rules are extremely complex and require a lawyer’s close scrutiny.
Contact Our Delayed Diagnosis Attorney. The Consultation Is Free
If you or a loved one has suffered harm or someone has died from what you suspect was a healthcare professional’s negligent behavior in making a diagnosis and, as a result, treating cancer became more difficult or impossible, your next step should be to consult medical malpractice attorney Cliff Rieders at Rieders, Travis, Dohrmann, Mowrey, Humphrey & Waters.
Set up your free consultation today by calling (570) 323-8711 or using our online contact form.