CHICAGO CANCER MISDIAGNOSIS ATTORNEY
Cancer Misdiagnosis Attorney in Chicago, IL
In 2021 alone, doctors diagnosed approximately 1.9 million Americans with cancer according to data from the American Cancer Society. 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 may receive unnecessary medical treatment. Additionally, the chance of survival for many Americans dramatically drops due to a delayed diagnosis or a missed diagnosis.
The Chicago 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. If you believe that your health has been impacted by a specific type of medical error, you deserve to have a professional investigate your case and explain your legal options to you.
Contact an experienced cancer misdiagnosis attorney at Curcio Law Offices today by calling 312-321-1111. We offer a free consultation to all new clients.
What is Misdiagnosis?
Diagnostic errors are one of the most common types of medical malpractice claims. Misdiagnosis occurs when a medical professional offers an incorrect diagnosis based on a patient’s symptoms and test results.
Cancer misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor fails to give their patient the correct cancer diagnosis. This could either mean that they diagnosed your cancer symptoms as another illness or they missed 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 is a life-threatening medical issue. That’s why early detection is often the key to preventing cancer deaths. When doctors fail to diagnose cancer as soon as symptoms appear, patients lose precious time to fight the disease in its early stages.
When a patient is misdiagnosed with cancer, they may be subjected to needless aggressive treatment. 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 exam, through blood tests or CT scans, or through symptoms. 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 for a variety of reasons. The most common reasons why medical professionals 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
- Improper interpretation of laboratory results or radiological testing
- Failure to consult with related medical specialists
- Communication errors between doctor and patient, as well as between 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 cancer misdiagnosis 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, it takes months or years for patients to receive a correct diagnosis.
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 1,900,000 new cancer cases each year in the United States, the number of potential misdiagnoses is high. The number can range 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 from laboratory tests in the pathology department. In that department, pathologists analyze a patient’s tissue samples under the microscope. One study found that cancer misdiagnosis originating from pathology departments often occurred due to 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.
If you were diagnosed with cancer or your doctor failed to diagnose you with cancer, it’s always a good idea to get a second opinion and maybe even a second set of laboratory tests.
Most Commonly Misdiagnosed Cancers
Almost any type of cancer – or any medical condition in general – can be misdiagnosed by a doctor. Listed below are some of the most common cancers that doctors fail to diagnose.
Invasive breast cancer is predicted to affect one out of every eight women according to BreastCancer.org. Breast cancer can be mistaken for a non-cancerous cyst or an accumulation of fluid within tissue. Breast cancers can be misdiagnosed with a number of benign conditions such as breast cysts or clogged milk ducts.
In colorectal cancer – a combination of colon cancer and rectum cancer – the cells in a patient’s lower intestine and rectum grow out of control, often forming tumors. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, or even food allergies can be mistaken for colon cancer or rectum 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 also be mistaken for pancreatic cancer. Diabetes is commonly a sign or risk factor for pancreatic cancer, therefore it’s possible to receive a false diagnosis of diabetes instead of pancreatic cancer.
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. Pleurisy, which is an inflammation of the membrane that borders the interior of the chest cavity, can also be a sign of lung cancer.
Cervical cancer is basically a tumor in the lowest part of the uterus, also known as the cervix. Receiving a pap smear every 3 years is crucial for early detection and proper medical treatment. Symptoms of cervical cancer include pelvic pain, painful intercourse, abnormal menstruation, abnormal discharge, and strong vaginal odor. Unfortunately, a doctor can misdiagnose cervical cancer as a variety of health conditions including STDs, a hormonal imbalance, fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, etc.
Serious Injuries Caused by Cancer Misdiagnosis
A patient can suffer any kind of serious injury due to a diagnostic error. Failure to diagnose 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)
- Wrongful death
Cancer therapies are incredibly aggressive. 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 avoided if medical professionals had offered the proper care. Early death, on the other hand, causes financial burden for families, which the responsible person should face. In addition, postponing cancer treatment results in lost wages, increased medical bills, 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 through a medical malpractice lawsuit. In order to receive justice for your physical, mental, and financial suffering, you need to hire Chicago medical malpractice lawyers from Curcio Law Offices. Our legal team has decades of combined experience in handling all sorts of medical malpractice claims, including cancer misdiagnosis lawsuits. We know exactly how to prove medical malpractice and the failure to diagnose in a court of law. Our Chicago cancer misdiagnosis lawyers will fight for the best case outcome possible.
Who is Liable for a Cancer Misdiagnosis?
In most medical negligence cases, the doctor who misdiagnosed the health condition is generally held responsible for damages. But other parties can be held responsible too, such as the hospital or clinic, the radiologists, the nurses, the pathologists, etc.
Damages for a Cancer Misdiagnosis
In a cancer misdiagnosis lawsuit, you could seek compensation for the following damages:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future rehabilitative expenses
- Current and future lost wages or benefits
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Permanent disability or impairment
- Loss of enjoyment or quality of life
- Funeral or burial expenses, if the doctor’s failure to diagnose cancer led to wrongful death
How To Prove Medical Malpractice
Medical negligence is often difficult to prove because the human body and modern medicine is so complex. Firstly, you must establish that a doctor patient relationship existed. Then, 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.
In order to do this, a cancer misdiagnosis lawyer will hire medical experts who have years of knowledge and experience of cancer. These medical experts will carefully review your medical records and other pieces of evidence in order to determine if your doctor acted as any other competent doctor would in the same situation. If the medical experts come to the conclusion that the doctor failed to act competently by failing to provide a correct, timely diagnosis and then treating you for the wrong medical condition, you could have a successful lawsuit.
Lastly, a cancer misdiagnosis lawyer will have to prove that you suffered serious health consequences as a direct result of the doctor’s incompetence. Not only that, but they will have to prove that you suffered a variety of damages as a result of the diagnostic error for which you deserve adequate compensation.
Proving medical malpractice sounds like an impossible feat. But rest assured that the medical malpractice lawyers at Curcio Law Offices have litigated dozens of cases like these. In fact, we have won nearly $40,000,000 in combined medical malpractice verdicts. We’re truly the best team to have on your side during this impossible time in your life.