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Early detection and proper diagnosis are crucial for fighting cancer. When doctors fail to diagnose cancer, a patient’s prognosis can be changed forever. Patients who are harmed by a doctor’s mistake may consider pursuing a medical malpractice case.
For many reasons, cancer can be difficult to diagnose. People often ignore the symptoms of cancer, dismissing them as something more benign. Others fear what their symptoms could mean and avoid going to the doctor until it is too late.
There are many different types of cancer. Some types are more difficult to diagnose than others because they do not show symptoms until the cancer has progressed significantly. Detecting cancer often means obtaining tissue samples of the tumor itself — often through dangerous or complicated surgery. Even with biopsies, mutated cancer cells may not be detected in tissue cells.
Establishing medical malpractice – or a doctor’s substandard level of care – can be challenging. Not every missed or wrong diagnosis is malpractice. A doctor cannot be held liable in cases where cancer is especially difficult to detect or another symptom can reasonably be mistaken for cancer. In cases where a diagnosis might not have made a difference – as in fatal cancers – the patient’s prognosis was not necessarily harmed by a doctor’s care.
Only when a doctor provides less than the standard of care is medical malpractice is possibility. When a doctor’s care deviates from what another doctor with the same knowledge and training would provide in the same situation, that doctor may be negligent. If a doctor’s negligence shortened a patient’s lifespan or degraded their remaining days, the patient or their surviving family members can bring a malpractice lawsuit.
In medical malpractice cases, a patient must prove they have been injured directly by a doctor’s mistake. Expert testimony is usually required in medical malpractice cases to establish what the standard course of care for the patient should have been. Cases can be brought against doctors who fail to recognize the symptoms of cancer and neglect to diagnose it, doctors who diagnose the wrong cancer, provide the wrong course of treatment, or diagnose another illness as cancer. Patients can hold doctors liable for unnecessary treatments and pain and suffering caused by a wrong diagnosis.
Medical malpractice cases are among the toughest to prove and should not be evaluated without the guidance of an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. Compensation received in a successful malpractice lawsuit can help with the costs of medical expenses and replace lost wages for people unable to work.
Patients and their families put great faith and trust in our doctors, expecting them to provide the best care possible. When a doctor fails diagnose a serious illness, compromising patient health, he or she should be held accountable. Every Cherry Hill medical malpractice lawyer at Folkman Law Offices, P.C. is prepared to handle the most challenging medical malpractice cases. Schedule a free evaluation by calling 856-354-9444 or contact us online to learn more. From our South Jersey, Philadelphia, and King of Prussia offices, we represent clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania.