Even though doctors spend many years learning to practice medicine, cancer misdiagnosis continues to happen to individuals throughout the United States. When this happens, it not only causes significant amounts of stress, but it can also lead to spending a lot of money on treatment and tests to find out that the diagnosis was wrong.
It is estimated that one in 10 people (about 10 percent) will receive a misdiagnosis if they have symptoms caused by cancer, an infection, or a major vascular event and, per De Gruyter, “roughly half of those misdiagnosed die or are permanently disabled as a result.”
What are the most common types of misdiagnosed cancers?
The National Law Review released a report stating the top five misdiagnosed cancers, which include:
- Lymphoma: This cancer affects the lymphatic system, such as the spleen, lymph nodes, bone marrow, and thymus gland.
- Breast Cancer: This type of cancer usually occurs when cells become out of control within the breast. Both women and men can be diagnosed with breast cancer.
- Colon Cancer: This type of cancer begins in the rectum. It mostly affects older adults, but it can be seen within all ages. Colon cancer usually starts as polyps that later form into cancer.
- Lung Cancer: This cancer starts in the lungs and most often affects smokers. There are two different types of lung cancers, which are called non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer.
- Skin Cancer: This type of cancer develops on the skin. It is usually a result of too much exposure to the sun.
The most common diagnostic errors in Kennewick, Washington
Unfortunately, cancer diagnostic errors occur among individuals in Kennewick as well as the rest of the country. The following are a few common ways that this happens:
- Misdiagnosis: This usually occurs when an individual is told that they have a certain cancer when they actually do not. As a result, they may go through unnecessary medical treatments for cancer they do not have.
- Incorrect diagnosis: When an individual is given an incorrect diagnosis, they are usually told that they do not have cancer. However, they actually do, and cannot receive necessary medical treatment because their doctor gave them an incorrect diagnosis.
- Delayed diagnosis: This is when an individual finally receives a correct diagnosis, but it is too late to seek medical treatment.
What causes cancer to be misdiagnosed?
As humans, we expect our physicians and nurses to never make mistakes when it comes to our health. However, cancer misdiagnosis appears to be on the rise. When this happens, it can result in a deadly situation as the proper treatment is delayed. Here are a few top reasons why cancer is misdiagnosed:
Family or personal history unknown. When a patient does not know their family history or the doctor does not take the time to ask for this information, a misdiagnosis can occur. The reason for this is because if there is a specific type of cancer in the patient’s family, there is a high chance that the victim could potentially have this same cancer. Therefore, it is important to know the risk factors.
Missing information. If a doctor does not have enough information on specific cancers, they may not know what to look for. This can result in providing a misdiagnosis.
Not enough data or testing. When a physician does not order the proper tests or take the necessary time to learn about the patient’s condition, a misdiagnosis may occur. This is because some physicians are overworked and do not have time to order adequate testing to find out the direct cause of many patients’ symptoms.
Is cancer misdiagnosis negligence?
Even though a cancer misdiagnosis may be an honest mistake made by a healthcare team, these mistakes cause people unnecessary and preventable harm. Therefore, it is not uncommon for medical malpractice lawsuits to arise when these situations occur. The reason for this is because the doctors may be seen as careless or reckless, which could result in them being liable for your damages.
In order to prove negligence in a cancer misdiagnosis, Telaré Law will establish four important elements, which include:
- The doctor had a duty of care to find out what type of sickness you have and treat it.
- They breached that duty through careless or reckless actions.
- These actions and behaviors caused you harm.
- You experienced economic and non-economic damages.
Examples of ways that negligence can lead to a cancer misdiagnosis
There are several different ways that negligence can lead to a cancer misdiagnosis, such as:
- Not taking the time to listen to the patient and assess their symptoms
- Failing to order the correct tests or additional tests to find out what’s wrong
- Not collecting blood work or other samples to get a closer look at the underlying issues
- Not following up with the patient or explaining their test results
- Failing to create a necessary and beneficial treatment plan for the patient
How long do you have to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Kennewick, Washington?
According to Washington Code 4.16.350, you typically need to file a medical malpractice lawsuit within three years from the date of medical error. Therefore, it is recommended to reach out to our Kennewick medical malpractice attorneys at your earliest convenience. The sooner we can get started on your case, the sooner you may be able to receive compensation to cover your accumulating medical bills and expenses.
At Telaré Law, we understand the difficulties and challenges people who have been misdiagnosed with cancer face. Therefore, our attorneys will do everything in our power to stand up for your rights and ensure that your story is told.
Fill out our contact form to schedule a free case evaluation at our Richland or Kennewick location today. If we determine that you have a viable claim, we will begin gathering the proper evidence and building a strong case against the physicians who caused you unnecessary troubles. We look forward to assisting you soon!