Diagnostic errors are the most common type of medical mistake in the US. Although some diagnostic errors are minor in terms of the consequences they have on patients, some are serious or even life-threatening. Diagnostic errors involving cancer often fall into the latter category. How can doctors or other health care providers misdiagnose cancer? There are multiple reasons why this can happen.
- A doctor may not identify apparent symptoms of specific types of cancer.
- Lab technicians may fail to identify signs of cancer, such as abnormal cell activity during a biopsy. A biopsy is a type of procedure that tests for tissue and cell abnormalities.
- A doctor may fail to order diagnostic tests when a patient is showing apparent symptoms of cancer. Test results can also be misinterpreted. For instance, a doctor may misinterpret the results of an imaging test with an illness that is less serious.
- Mistakes can be made while testing for cancer, leading to inaccurate results.
There are various outcomes that are possible when these mistakes are made. Doctors may mistakenly tell a patient they have cancer when they are suffering from a less serious condition. Patients could receive unnecessary procedures because it was mistakenly believed they were suffering from cancer.
Delayed diagnosis is another possible outcome. In these cases, a patient receives an incorrect diagnosis that is later corrected. As a result, a patient could have received treatment sooner if the diagnosis had been correct. They may die sooner than they would have if they had received a correct diagnosis. It is also possible they may have survived if the diagnosis had not been delayed.
Can I File a Cancer Misdiagnosis Lawsuit?
Could you file a medical malpractice claim for these mistakes? Medical malpractice claims must meet specific criteria. You should speak with an attorney to determine whether you would be able to file a claim. The Atlantic City medical malpractice lawyers at Targan Pender & Strickland, P.C. have experience with cancer misdiagnosis cases. You could speak to our attorneys during a free consultation to determine your eligibility for filing a claim.