Delayed diagnosis of cancer is the leading culprit in the category of delayed diagnosis that we see in medical malpractice cases. When a doctor ignores the warning signs of cancer, or fails to order the correct tests, then the patient may lose their life or health as a result of medical malpractice. Early diagnosis of cancer is the key to survival for many forms of cancer. Delay in diagnosis is as a related form of diagnostic error. It is defined as a non-optimal interval of time between the onset of symptoms, identification, and initiation of treatment. Examples may be medication, lab work, physical therapy and the list goes on. (see The Joint Commissions’ Office of Quality and Safety)
Upon receiving a diagnosis of cancer, undergoing cancer treatment can be a long and arduous process. The treatment of cancer should begin soon after diagnosis, but for many cancers, it is possible to wait a few weeks to begin treatment. Getting a second opinion may be recommended. The diagnosis of cancer is scary for any patient. But a delay in diagnosis can result in decreased chances of survival. It can also cause a more difficult and protracted treatment process. By seeking the best medical treatment, you can avoid a delayed cancer diagnosis, which we often see in our clients’ medical malpractice cases.
Sadly, many of the medical malpractice cases our firm handles involve the death or sever injury related to pregnancy. According to ProPublica, an independent and non-profit investigative journal, there are an estimated 700-900 women that died from pregnancy related causes in the year 2016. ProPublica’s article, “Lost Mothers,” claims to have identified 134 of these mothers.
Did you know that according to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), medical malpractice ranks third as the leading cause of death in the U.S., with heart disease and cancer claiming the two top spots? In fact, a staggering $3 billion was paid out in medical malpractice settlements in 2012. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). There are other studies that show this figure to be much higher, as much as 440,000.
Medical malpractice is an umbrella term that refers to any breach of duty by a health care professional that causes injury or death, whether through negligence or some other type of carelessness. And while medical malpractice issues – such as wrong diagnoses – are well-known, wrong-site surgery has become increasingly more common and can have devastating consequences for a patient.