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IS IT POSSIBLE TO SUE A HEALTH PROFESSIONAL FOR CANCER MISDIAGNOSIS OR DELAYED DIAGNOSIS?

In recent years, cancer diagnosis and treatment options have advanced, and doctors can tell signs of cancer early enough to improve the treatment’s chances of success. The earlier a patient receives a cancer diagnosis, the sooner they can receive a treatment plan that reduces the spread of the cancerous cells and eventually eradicates them.

Doctors and healthcare professionals have a legal responsibility to offer reasonably competent health care, including providing patients with a timely and correct diagnosis of their medical conditions. Failure to correctly or timely diagnose cancer can lead to a cancer misdiagnosis lawsuit.

Medical irresponsibilities that can lead to misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of cancer

Whenever a doctor, radiologist, oncologist, or any other health professional fails to carry out their duties in a reasonable manner, it may lead to cancer misdiagnosis. In the case of cancer misdiagnosis or delayed misdiagnosis, the patient cannot seek treatment early enough, and the disease continues progressing. In worse situations, cancer misdiagnosis can lead to the untimely death of the patient.

Here are the various mistakes that can lead to cancer misdiagnosis:

  • Failing to order the required lab tests and diagnostic tests.
  • Failure to take the patient’s complaints about symptoms and pain seriously.
  • Failure to carry out a biopsy test when necessary.
  • Misdiagnosing cancer as another condition.
  • The wrong interpretation of CT scans, X-rays, and other diagnostic tests.
  • Failing to refer or recommend the patient to a cancer specialist.

Proving medical malpractice based on cancer misdiagnosis errors

Doctors are human beings, so they are not supposed to be right all the time; therefore, the law does not hold them legally responsible for all diagnostic errors. Here, the patient must prove three main things to prevail in a medical malpractice lawsuit based on cancer misdiagnosis.

  • That a doctor-patient relationship was there.
  • That the doctor was negligent in that they did not provide treatment and care in a reasonably skillful and competent way.
  • That the doctor’s negligence caused damage to the patient or worsened the condition.

Negligence of the doctor

Cancer misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis is not enough to prove that the doctor was negligent. That is because even skillful doctors make diagnostic mistakes even when exercising reasonable care. Here, the most important thing is to determine if the doctor acted competently, and it involves assessing what they did and did not do during the diagnosis.

In a cancer misdiagnosis lawsuit, the plaintiff needs to prove that another doctor under similar circumstances and specialty would not have misdiagnosed their illness.

Errors in diagnostic tests

In some circumstances, the doctor may fail to diagnose a patient’s condition correctly due to errors in the diagnosis equipment, inaccurate results from lab tests and radiology films, and other types of tests. That can be as a result of:

  • Faulty equipment.
  • Human error such as samples being contaminated or mixed up, the technician used an incorrect procedure, missed something in a pathology or x-ray slide, or the results were misinterpreted. 

That means the doctor might not be liable for the misdiagnosis but another health professional such as the pathologist. However, the patient must prove the negligence of the health professional.

The bottom line

Yes, it is possible to sue for cancer misdiagnosis. The best way is to consult with a cancer misdiagnosis lawyer to help you determine the validity of your case.

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