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When a Cancer Misdiagnosis Leads to Medical Malpractice

Doctor with stethoscope

One of the most common types of medical misdiagnoses is cancer misdiagnosis. If a doctor misidentifies cancer or determines it is another disease, a patient may not obtain the proper treatment and his/her condition may quickly progress to a life-threatening situation. 

But does this mean a doctor commits medical malpractice if he/she misdiagnoses a patient’s cancer? It depends. 

Remember, cancer can typically be misdiagnosed for many reasons, from mistaken cancer symptoms to other non-cancer diseases or a benign condition is confused with a malignant one. Not all errors committed by doctors are considered medical malpractice unless they fail to meet the industry’s standards of care in eyes of other medical experts. 

However, failure to detect cancer can lead to medical malpractice if a timely diagnosis would have likely resulted in a substantially better outcome. Although some cancers have a low survival rate and an accurate diagnosis within a few days or weeks apart may not have made a huge difference, others that are caught during the early stages before it metastasizes may lead to successful treatment. 

The following are several actions made by a doctor that may give rise to a medical malpractice lawsuit: 

  • Ignore a patient’s complaints 

  • Misidentify apparent symptoms of the possibility of cancer and would have been noticed by a doctor with the same training and experience 

  • Fail to follow the correct testing procedures when determining the possibility of cancer 

  • Fail to order proper blood tests or medical scans 

  • Misinterpret x-rays, CT scans, and other diagnostic tests 

  • Fail to order additional testing after obtaining certain test results 

  • Fail to refer the patient to a specialist 

Not only can a cancer misdiagnosis lead to a lack of treatment, but it may also result in even unnecessary, harmful medical treatment, such as radiation, chemotherapy, or amputation. If you believe your doctor committed medical malpractice by misdiagnosing your cancer, you must seek experienced legal assistance from a medical malpractice attorney. 

The Law Offices of David C. Rash has more than three decades of experience helping our medical malpractice clients recover millions of dollars. Contact us today at (954) 914-7116 for a free initial consultation. 

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