One of the worst moments in a person’s life can be when they find out they have a life-threatening illness, such as cancer. Finding out that your physician’s negligence caused a misdiagnosis or a delay in the diagnosis of your cancer can be even more devastating. When a person’s cancer symptoms are missed altogether or mistaken for something else, the patient may not get the treatment they need right away, which can result in an advanced stage diagnosis that could have been avoided had the patient’s cancer been detected earlier.
Early Detection is the Key to Keeping Patients with Cancer Alive
Many times, a patient or their loved ones may notice symptoms or warning signs of cancer including pain, excessive fatigue, changes in skin, and unplanned weight loss. While the patient and their family may fear the worst, these symptoms do not always mean cancer. It is the doctor’s responsibility to discover the patient’s symptoms, run appropriate testing, and make a diagnosis as soon as possible.
If the diagnosis is in fact cancer, it is especially important that the doctor inform the patient as soon as possible, so they can begin appropriate treatment before the cancer becomes more advanced. Many types of cancers benefit from early detection including breast cancer, prostate cancer, renal cancer, lung cancer, and skin cancer.
It can be hard for us to imagine how an experienced physician could fail to diagnose a patient’s cancer in a timely manner. However, physicians can make critical mistakes during the diagnostic process. Some of these diagnosis errors including:
- Failure to thoroughly review a patient’s history or failure to perform a full initial examination of the patient
- Failure to recognize symptoms
- Failure to order appropriate testing or failure to properly perform testing
- Failure to communicate effectively with other medical professionals while working on the patient
Diagnostic Errors Can Cause Severe Harm
A delay in the patient’s cancer diagnosis can mean the difference between life and death. A patient who does not receive treatment as soon as possible can experience many complications including:
- Loss of limbs or organs
- Permanent disability
- Severe pain
- Scarring and disfigurement
- More aggressive and painful treatments
- Inability to work
- Premature death
Doctors have a responsibility to their patients to properly identify symptoms, order proper testing, and diagnose cancer and other illnesses in a timely fashion. If your doctor negligently misdiagnosed your cancer or delayed the diagnosis, you may have suffered unnecessary harm. Filing a medical malpractice suit against the negligent doctor and hospital can allow you to recover damages for the harm and pain they caused you. An attorney in the Tampa area can help you with every step of the process and give you and your family the best chance to recover compensation.