A misdiagnosis can happen with regard to any kind of cancer, from breast cancer to colorectal cancer. It is hard to determine with certainty how many deaths occur due to a failure to make a timely diagnosis. One of the particular risks of cancer is the risk that if it is not caught early in the process, it can start spreading through the body and begin to attack organs or tissues that are more challenging to treat or that are more vulnerable. A diagnosis needs to be both timely and accurate. If you were harmed because of a failure to diagnose cancer, the St. Louis cancer misdiagnosis law firm of The Gogel Law Firm may be able to help you recover damages.
A failure to diagnose an illness is a common type of medical malpractice. Failing to diagnose cancer can be particularly harmful, since some cancers are quite treatable initially but become less treatable if they progress.
Doctors rely to some extent on a patient’s report of their symptoms to diagnose them. Most doctors are trained to perform a differential diagnosis. After taking the patient’s symptoms down, the doctor makes a list of possible diagnoses that would explain the symptoms, ranking them from the most likely to the least likely explanation. A failure to diagnose cancer can occur when a doctor fails to list cancer as a possibility, or it can occur when a doctor fails to adequately test whether cancer is the right diagnosis.
For example, there are early screeners that doctors use for certain types of cancer. It is crucial for a doctor who is told about a lump or who notices a lump on their own to determine whether it is cancerous in nature. When the right screening tests are not properly performed, a patient may not get appropriate care, resulting in a lack of diagnosis or even a misdiagnosis.
In some cases, doctors do not perform tests, such as mammograms or biopsies, since they are expensive. However, a failure to make an appropriate differential diagnosis list or test theories in an effort to diagnose can make it less likely that a patient will recover, and it can make it more likely that the cancer will spread or require more aggressive treatment. A cancer misdiagnosis attorney can help Missouri patients and others in this situation hold a health care provider accountable for the resulting costs.
In some cases, proper tests are ordered, but there is negligence by a pathologist or radiologist who was interpreting the test. For example, a radiologist could misread an image of a tumor, such that they do not detect cancer. Or, for another example, a pathologist might mishandle a lab result, such that cancer is not detected. In those cases, it is also possible to pursue a medical malpractice claim.
If you bring a medical malpractice lawsuit either for your own injuries resulting from a failure to diagnose cancer or for a loved one’s death, you will need to establish that there was a doctor-patient relationship, the doctor failed to act in line with accepted professional standards in failing to diagnose cancer, and the failure to diagnose caused the cancer to worsen or resulted in death. Each element must be established by a preponderance of the evidence. This means that your St. Louis cancer misdiagnosis attorney will need to supply proof that each element that you assert in support of your claim is more likely to be true than not true.
In most cases, it is necessary to retain a credible expert on the issues of causation and the accepted standard of care. The other side will also retain an expert, who will likely testify that your doctor acted in accordance with the accepted standard of care, or they may testify that the failure to diagnose your cancer was not the cause of your harm. Failure to diagnose cancer claims can be tricky because in some cases it is hard to show with sufficient certainty that the outcome would have been different had the doctor diagnosed cancer when the patient first presented with symptoms.
If you were harmed or a loved one died due to a doctor’s failure to diagnose cancer, you may be able to recover damages. The Gogel Law Firm may be able to help you recover damages from the responsible health care providers in claims based on a failure to diagnose cancer, heart attack, or other serious conditions. Call us or contact us via our online form.
4542 West Pine Boulevard,
Saint Louis, MO 63108, USA
Telephone: (314) 775-3864
Fax: (314) 531-1069