Misdiagnosis of Cancer Lawyer Philadelphia Pennsylvania
Cancer is an illness that evokes a great deal of fear in people. This is probably due to the fact that cancer is linked to numerous fatalities each and every year. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, every day, 1500 Americans died of cancer in 2010. In Pennsylvania, more than 78,000 cases of cancer were diagnosed in 2010. In the same year in Pennsylvania, cancer claimed the lives of 28,500 people. Many of these deaths could have been prevented had cancer been timely diagnosed.
According to a study at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, more than 12% of U.S. cancer patients are initially misdiagnosed. While a diagnosis of cancer can be devastating, a misdiagnosis, resulting in delayed treatment and the possibility of death due to the misdiagnosis is much worse. Misdiagnosed cancer rapidly leads to severe illness or death. Despite the fact that cancer is linked to death, it is important for people to remember that when cancer is correctly diagnosed it can be treated. In many cases, early screening, diagnosis, and treatment can lead to a person's full recovery from the disease.
Unfortunately, many people who have cancer are misdiagnosed and not treated for the disease on time. This is referred to as delayed diagnosis of cancer and it occurs when medical professionals fail to make a timely diagnosis for their patients. When medical professionals fail to detect and treat cancer in a timely fashion, the end result is usually fatal. A delayed cancer diagnosis can result in frustration, financial setbacks, pain, and emotional trauma. This is why people who have received a delayed cancer diagnosis should consult with a reputable medical malpractice attorney. A medical malpractice attorney may be able to help the person recover damages for their accrued medical bills, physical symptoms, lost quality of life, and pain and suffering.
With the high cost of insurance and insurance regulations, doctors may not always make a prompt diagnosis or referral to the proper specialist. Shortage of staff, long hours and stress along with finding that the average time physicians spend with a patient is 15 minutes are not in the patients' favor. It is well known that the early detection of several types of cancer may improve the patient's chances for cure, prevent the spread of the cancer, and prevent the patient from needing chemotherapy or radiation. Within the standard of care, there are many tests or studies that a doctor may need to order or perform to allow for the early diagnosis of a patient's cancer:
- CT Scan
- PET Scan
- Pap Smear
- Blood Test
What is Cancer?
Cancer is caused by abnormal overgrowth of cells. Usually these cells stick together and form tumors, they may be dispersed into the blood stream, or into the lymphatic system. As technology advances, the diagnosis of cancer has improved and treatments for cancer have also improved significantly. With advanced detection methods and treatments survival rates for cancer has dramatically increased. However cancer is the second leading cause of death in the USA. Misdiagnosis of cancer is not common because physical and health care professionals usually will perform comprehensive diagnostic testing if cancer is even a possibility.
Despite the advanced technology helping detect early cancer, misdiagnosis cases do occur. Cancer misdiagnosis often occurs when a doctor misreads a biopsy slide. When the suspicion of a malignancy arises, a biopsy is done to prove or disprove the presence of cancer. It is most often seen in prostate cancer patients. In the case of prostate cancer, the need for a biopsy is typically determined by an elevated or rising prostate specific antigen (PSA). Prostate biopsies are guided by transrectal sonography but specific lesions in the prostate may not be visible. For this reason multiple biopsies must be obtained to assure adequate sampling of the prostate. A minimum of seven separate biopsies should be preformed with many experts in the field recommending up to fifteen for better diagnostic accuracy. If cancer is not found in the biopsy specimens then close follow up with rebiopsy is recommended.
Once the biopsies have been taken in a prostate case, a consultation with the pathologist reading the specimens is important to the overall treatment of the patient. If the biopsy was from the area of the cancer but did not specifically detect cancer cells there may be other findings that are suspicious for a malignancy in the adjacent tissue.
What is Medical Malpractice in a Cancer Case?
Medical malpractice is a physician's failure to perform his job with caution and care as a competent practitioner in the same or similar specialization. In a failure to diagnose cancer case, it is often the physician's oversight or inability to properly diagnose cancer which is most times glaringly obvious. In the instance where the patient was thought of as a cancer risk and nothing was done to ensure proper screening, the patient has to prove that there was in fact a deviation from the standard of care. This measure requires another doctor reviewing the patient's existing file and coming to the conclusion that the doctor did indeed fail to do what was expected of him. This may include misinterpretation of test results and other medical errors.
The patient also has to prove that the deviation in one way or another prevented or substantially decreased his opportunity to beat the cancer. By virtue of the patient being thought of as a cancer risk and not being treated properly for it constitutes medical malpractice. If you find that you are in this position and need more information, call our attorneys at the Lassen Law Firm. We are here to help and point you in the right direction in making your claim.
When malpractice occurs, it generally involves a negligent delay in diagnosing the patient's cancer. When there is a delay in diagnosis, a localized form of cancer is unfortunately given time to enlarge or spread to nearby lymph nodes or other organs. The cancer diagnosis delay, which may last from several months to years, may result in a decrease in the patient's chance of cure or survival. This type of malpractice may occur when a patient reports to a doctor with a sign/symptom suggestive of cancer, but the doctor negligently fails to make the diagnosis because failing to:
- Conduct a thorough examination;
- Identify a malignant tumor;
- Timely order or perform a test, study, or film;
- Properly interpret the test images and lab results;
- Read the results of a report;
- Screen cancer-free patients routinely;
- Properly determine the aggressiveness of the tumor;
- Notice a cancerous lesion in a biopsy
- Identify an abnormality in a study report;
- Timely refer the patient to the appropriate specialist for further examination;
- Recommend a follow-up appointment within the appropriate time period;
- Attentively listen and understand a patient's complaints.
As a result of negligence, the cancer remains undiagnosed and starts spreading. When the cancer is eventually diagnosed, the unfortunate spread of the cancer may have resulted in the patient having a decreased chance of cure and having to undergo chemotherapy or radiation. Misdiagnosis can be absolutely devastating to a patient and their family, let alone the deadly consequences. Early diagnosis is a major factor in the outcome of most cancers. If you feel that you have been affected by a misdiagnosis of cancer you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to consult a legal professional experienced in handling cases such as these.
The issue of whether the doctor was negligent in detecting, diagnosing and treating cancer requires a medical expert who knows the details of diagnosis and medical malpractice. If you think you or someone you know has been a victim of medical malpractice, contact the Lassen Law Firm for a free case evaluation and learn how we may be able to help you recover compensation for your losses. Medical malpractice cases are much more involved than other types of personal injury cases. A medical malpractice plaintiff must prove that the doctor or medical staff did not show the proper level of care. It must be proven that their actions were not acceptable and they faulted either purposely or negligently. The Lassen Law Firm employs attorneys who have the legal knowledge and experience to help you succeed in your cancer misdiagnosis case.
Medical Malpractice Lawyer Pennsylvania
If you or someone in your family has been seriously harmed by a medical error, please call our medical malpractice lawyers at the Lassen Law Firm. We are here to listen to you and to take action when it is deemed to be the right thing to do. The information you provide is held in absolute privacy and strictest confidence and is shared only with the attorneys that will be working on your concerns. The Lassen Law Firm works on a contingency basis meaning that we only get paid when you do, so there are no costs for our investigation fees. Call the Lassen Law Firm now to see how we can help.
The Lassen Law Firm only deducts a 29% contingency fee, not the standard 45% like other firms. We serve ALL of Pennsylvania. We can sign you up over the phone and start working on your case today.
Stop Searching. Start Calling. 215-510-6755.
Authored by: Christian Lassen