Cancer Misdiagnosis Attorney in Chicago, IL
The American Cancer Society estimates that around 1.8 million cases of cancer receive a diagnosis in the United States every year. However, many of these cases are misdiagnosed or diagnosed long after the doctor should have detected the disease. Because of this rate of cancer misdiagnosis, patients receive unnecessary treatment or their chance of survival significantly drops.
The medical malpractice attorneys at Curcio Law Offices commit themselves to helping those who have suffered undue harm or lost a loved one due to medical error, misdiagnosis, or delayed cancer diagnosis.
Contact us today to speak with an attorney–your initial consultation is absolutely free. We serve clients in Chicago and throughout Illinois.
If you believe that your health has been impacted by the specific form of medical error, you deserve to have a professional review and investigate your case and explain your legal options to you.
What Is Misdiagnosis?
Misdiagnosis is when a medical professional offers a prognosis, based on the symptoms presented, along with tests performed, but the prognosis ends up being incorrect–the condition is actually something else.
Cancer misdiagnosis occurs when a medical professional delivers the wrong cancer diagnosis. This could either mean that they diagnose your cancer symptoms as another illness or they miss your cancer symptoms entirely.
Cancer misdiagnosis is one of the most prevalent types of medical mistakes due to the widely misunderstood nature of cancer. A cancer misdiagnosis might be life-threatening for the patient. Patients may lose a vital opportunity for treatment if cancer is misdiagnosed or misidentified as another condition. As a result, the patient’s health may deteriorate significantly or result in death.
When a patient is misdiagnosed with cancer, he or she may be subjected to needless physically and emotionally draining cancer therapy. Furthermore, an undetected condition may be allowed to develop, resulting in further health concerns. When a patient is misdiagnosed, it can be difficult to get the facts needed to modify the diagnosis and treatment plan. As a result, it’s critical for doctors and patients to consider all diagnostic possibilities while closely monitoring a diagnosed disease and its response to treatment.
How Is Cancer Misdiagnosed?
A cancer suspicion may arise during a normal physical examination, as a result of the findings of cancer screening tests or other laboratory tests, or as a consequence of symptoms that you bring up to your doctor. It is not your duty to be aware of the possibility that your symptoms are cancer-related. That is your doctor’s responsibility. It is possible for cancer to be misdiagnosed or overlooked by doctors in a variety of ways. The most prevalent ways that doctors and health care workers misdiagnose cancer are listed below.
- Failing to conduct a thorough and complete examination of the patient
- Not taking a detailed medical history
- Failing to follow up with and communicate with the patient
- Not recognizing early symptoms or warning signs of cancer
- Not offering specific cancer screenings
- Failing to recommend certain tests because of financial concerns or limitations
- Improperly interpretation of laboratory results or radiological testing
- Failure to consult with the related medical specialists
- Communication errors between doctor and patient, as well as doctors and medical facilities
How Common Is Cancer Misdiagnosis?
For starters, it’s important to understand that determining the rates of cancer misdiagnosis is not an easy task. Because the timeline for different cases varies so greatly, it takes a significant study to determine the most accurate rate of misdiagnosis. Sometimes, doctors catch the signs of cancer only a few days after their initial diagnosis. In other cases, the misdiagnosis remains for months without any realization.
Additionally, these cases sometimes go completely unreported to both the patient and their clinical file. Keeping patients in the dark about medical mistakes is unconscionable, and could very well lead to a medical malpractice case. One study concluded that the rate of misdiagnosis was between 0 and 10%, while another study found the results closer to 28%. That’s an alarming discrepancy. Regardless, with approximately 1,800,000 new cancer cases each year in the United States, the number of potential misdiagnoses is high. The number ranges between approximately 180,000 and 504,000 cases of cancer misdiagnosis each year.
Why Is Cancer Misdiagnosed?
Several reasons exist for cancer misdiagnosis. However, many experts in the area believe that a misdiagnosis often originates in the pathology department. In that department, pathologists analyze tissue samples under the microscope that doctors took from patients. One study found that cancer misdiagnosis originating from pathology departments often occurred as a result of a lack of proper resources. If a pathologist misreads or misinterprets a tissue sample, this could very well lead to cancer misdiagnosis, even for someone who is an otherwise healthy individual. It could also lead to a lack of a cancer diagnosis when it is appropriate.
The same study found that doctors believe the source of misdiagnosis to be a lack of communication or information between departments. This lack of communication might happen between your primary care physician and a specialist, or through incomplete electronic medical records. In other words, if a specialist tries to pull up your medical records electronically, they might not have access to the full picture of your medical history.
Many individuals who have been diagnosed with cancer or who have been given a clean bill of health following a biopsy seek a second opinion. If you have any questions about the original diagnosis, you can get your slides reviewed by another pathologist.
Types of Cancer Misdiagnosis
The most often misdiagnosed malignancies, according to experts, are caused by their high frequency of incidence. Furthermore, many individuals may not show signs or symptoms of this or other types of cancer until their illness has progressed. As a result, both doctors and patients should be aware of symptoms, how they progress or dissipate, and how they may interact with certain treatment regimens.
Invasive breast cancer is predicted to affect one out of every eight women. Breast cancer can be mistaken for a non-cancerous cyst or an accumulation of liquid within tissue. Breast cancer that is inflammatory causes the breast to appear red, inflamed, and warm to the touch. Mastitis, or breast inflammation, can be mistaken for inflammatory breast cancer. Inflammatory breast cancer can be mistaken for fibrocystic breast disease, a benign illness that creates a lumpy or rope-like appearance in the breasts.
A patient’s lower intestine and rectum are affected by colorectal cancer. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and ulcerative colitis are two inflammatory bowel disorders that might be misinterpreted for colorectal cancer. Hemorrhoids or piles can also be mistaken for colorectal cancer.
Pancreatic cancer frequently produces symptoms in the digestive system. Irritable bowel syndrome, for example, might be misdiagnosed as a result of this. Gallstones or pancreatitis, or even inflammation of the pancreas, can be mistaken for pancreatic cancer. Diabetes is commonly a sign or risk factor for pancreatic cancer, therefore it’s possible to diagnose pancreatic cancer as diabetes.
Coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, and a raspy voice are all signs of lung cancer. Patients with other forms of respiratory infections and other illnesses may also exhibit these symptoms. Lung cancer may be misdiagnosed as pneumonia, asthma, TB, or bronchitis as a result of this. Pleurisy, which is an inflammation of the membrane that borders the interior of the chest cavity, can also be a sign of lung cancer.
Injuries Caused by Cancer Misdiagnosis
In many situations, the patient suffers wrongful death or substantial damage as a result of a cancer misdiagnosis. Failure to identify cancer promptly and accurately might lead to delayed or erroneous treatment. The patient’s chance of mortality rises as the proper cancer therapy is delayed. Common injuries include the following.
- Soft tissue and nerve damage
- Permanent damages to internal organs
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Amputation and loss of limbs
Cancer therapies are difficult. They can be unpleasant and come with a slew of negative side effects. A misdiagnosis may lead to a patient obtaining cancer therapy when it is not required.
What to Do After a Cancer Misdiagnosis?
There is no amount of money that can compensate for a person’s avoidable or unnecessary death, or the additional pain of knowing that their death might have been averted if medical practitioners had reacted correctly. Early death, on the other hand, causes financial burden for families, which the responsible person should face. In addition, postponing cancer treatment results in missed earnings, increased health-care expenditures, and, in rare circumstances, lifelong incapacity.
If you or someone you love suffered a cancer misdiagnosis, a delayed diagnosis, or a failure to diagnose, you might be entitled to significant compensation. We recommend contacting a Chicago medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. The damages you and your family suffered are significant, which is why you deserve only the best possible representation.
Who Is Liable for a Cancer Misdiagnosis?
In most medical negligence cases, the doctor who misdiagnosed the malignancy is held responsible for damages. For cancer misdiagnosis, the medical institution, radiologist, and other medical practitioners might all be held liable. Appropriate damages in these cases includes the following.
- Current and future lost wages or benefits
- Pain and suffering, which includes mental anguish, emotional distress, and physical hardship
- Costs of medical treatments and care
- Permanent disability or impairment
- Loss of enjoyment or quality of life
Medical malpractice is a difficult case to prove. You must show that the doctor violated his or her duty of care by failing to follow the accepted standard of care when treating you. That means you’ll need to engage medical specialists to figure out what standard of care should have been used in your situation. If you want to win your case, you’ll need to work with a qualified Chicago medical malpractice lawyer.
Contact a Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today
At Curcio Law Offices, we have extensive experience handling medical malpractice cases in Chicago, including birth injuries, nursing home negligence, and much more. When we go to the doctor, we expect them to provide the highest level of care possible. If they breach their duty of care and you suffer damages, you deserve compensation for your suffering. If you or someone you love experienced a cancer misdiagnosis, please contact our Chicago office today. Call 312-321-1111 or fill out our online intake form.