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Proof of Medical Malpractice: Failure To Diagnose Cancer Cases

May 2, 2022

When you or your loved one has been diagnosed with cancer, one of the most important next steps is starting treatment immediately. Unfortunately, sometimes, physicians fail to diagnose or worse end up misdiagnosing the medical condition. When this happens, it can be devastating for you and your family.

If a doctor makes a misdiagnosis due to failure to follow standard procedures, they may be liable for medical malpractice and you deserve justice and compensation. However, proving a misdiagnosis case requires considerable evidence for your case to hold water.

In this article, we look at how to prove medical misdiagnosis, or failure to diagnose cancer in New York, and what you can do about it.

What is Cancer Misdiagnosis?

Cancer misdiagnosis is the accidental failure to diagnose cancer in a patient who has it or the mistaken diagnosis of cancer in a patient who does not. It can be caused by human error, medical equipment failures, or laboratory errors. 

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In New York, there were 114,373 people diagnosed with cancer in 2018, and more than 30,000 of these victims died, making cancer the second leading cause of death in the state. 

Cancer comes in many different forms and can affect any part of the body. This makes it difficult to diagnose, and unfortunately, also makes it easy to misdiagnose.

Common Types of Misdiagnosed Cancers

Misdiagnosed cancers are more common than you think. Although physicians and medical professionals are trained to detect cancer, they sometimes overlook certain types or misdiagnose them as other conditions or diseases. 

Misdiagnosed cancers can be dangerous because they may not receive treatment in time or the wrong type of treatment. Here are some common types of misdiagnosed cancers:

Cerebral Tumors: Cerebral tumors are often misdiagnosed as migraine headaches, anxiety disorders, or depression since they cause similar symptoms such as headache and nausea. If a person experiences these symptoms for more than six months, he should be evaluated by a neurologist to determine if he has a brain tumor.

Lung Cancer: Lung cancer is often misdiagnosed as pneumonia, asthma, or tuberculosis because it causes similar symptoms such as coughing up blood, shortness of breath, and chest pain. If your loved one has been diagnosed with one of these conditions and is still experiencing these symptoms after treatment, ask his doctor about lung cancer. 

Prostate Cancer: Prostate cancer may be misdiagnosed as an enlarged prostate (BPH) due to similar symptoms such as difficulty urinating and frequent urination at night.

Breast Cancer: Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in women, but it can be difficult to detect early on because the symptoms are so similar to those of other conditions. 

A misdiagnosed case of breast cancer can be devastating for a woman—especially when it comes to treatment options. The earlier breast cancer is treated, the better a woman’s outcome will be. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), early detection can improve survival rates by as much as 99% in the first five years.

How To Prove Medical Malpractice For Cancer In New York

If you are a New York resident who’s been misdiagnosed with cancer, you may be wondering if it’s possible to sue your doctor over the diagnosis. 

Medical malpractice cases can be complicated. Some of the key elements in a successful medical malpractice case include showing that a doctor owed you a duty of care, that there was a breach of that duty of care, and that your damages were caused by the doctor’s negligence.

In order to prove your claim, you will need to provide evidence showing:

1. Misdiagnosis: A doctor did not diagnose cancer in time so that it could be treated. There are many factors that go into determining misdiagnosis as malpractice, including how advanced the tumor was when it was diagnosed, how long it took to find out about the error, and who made the mistake. If the misdiagnosis caused death or a worse outcome than if cancer had been diagnosed earlier, then you may have a case for medical malpractice.

2. Failure to diagnose: The doctor never diagnosed cancer even though there were signs of it or it spread because of their negligence. This can be difficult to prove because doctors are allowed to make mistakes, but if they knew they were making one and did nothing about it then they could be held accountable for failing to diagnose cancer. 

3. Negligence: In order to prove medmal, you must be able to prove that the doctor was negligent in some way. In cancer cases, there are a variety of ways your doctor could be negligent, including:

  • Failing to inform you about all of your cancer treatment options
  • Prescribing a treatment that is contraindicated for your cancer
  • Failing to refer you to a specialist when necessary 

4. You suffered an injury as a result of the breach: Another aspect of proving medmal is that you have to establish a direct link between the doctor’s negligence and any injuries or medical complications that resulted. This can sometimes be difficult in cancer cases because the disease tends to progress slowly, so it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly when things went wrong. 

However, if you can demonstrate through evidence (such as your medical records) that the doctor did not follow standard protocol or otherwise fell short of providing you with acceptable care, then you may have grounds for a malpractice claim in New York.

How to File a Claim for Cancer Misdiagnosis in New York

If you believe you were misdiagnosed with cancer and want to pursue compensation, your first step is to consult with an experienced New York personal injury attorney who can help determine whether or not your case is worth pursuing. 

You’ll need to provide information about how you were treated by your doctor and what led up to the misdiagnosis. This information will help your attorney assess how strong your case is and whether or not it’s worth pursuing further action against the doctor who made the initial mistake.

If you think you are a victim of medmal for failure to diagnose cancer in New York and want to seek compensation, it is important you do this as soon as possible. The statute of limitations on cancer misdiagnosis in New York is two and half years from the date of reasonable discovery. 

Anything outside this window, and your case may not be entertained by the courts. 

Final Thoughts

A cancer misdiagnosis can have devastating consequences for a patient and his or her family. Fortunately, you may be able to obtain compensation from the doctor or hospital that caused your injury by filing a medical malpractice claim. 

If you believe your doctor misdiagnosed cancer and want to file a claim for damages, it is important to contact an experienced New York medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. Then you can get started on taking legal action against your doctor so that he or she can be held accountable for the damage done.

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