Diagnosis-related malpractice is the single largest common root cause of malpractice across the United States. According to the American Medical Association, diagnostic errors result in as many as 80,000 deaths each year. Of all diagnostic errors that are brought as medical malpractice claims, failures in the diagnostic process for cancer is the largest group. Four cancers lead the way in claims: breast, lung, colorectal, and prostate. Around 12% of U.S. cancer patients are misdiagnosed a year.
Delay in diagnosis allows tumors to grow.
Any cancer diagnosis is frightening. But if the diagnosis is delayed through a breakdown in the diagnostic process, it adds needless harm to an already difficult situation. Allowing a tumor time to grow is never the right thing to do. Chances of survival can go down and treatment gets more difficult.
The diagnostic process can breakdown in many ways. The most common way is a failure in following proper testing steps. The process can breakdown when providers fail to: (1) choose and order the appropriate diagnostic tests; (2) perform tests correctly (including errors in handling of specimens); (3) receive or transmit test results with appropriate accuracy and urgency; (4) communicate clearly and efficiently between lab and radiology professionals and the ordering physician and other relevant providers, (5) accurately interpret test results; (6) clearly communicate results to the patient; and repeat tests or order additional diagnostics when appropriate. Breakdowns in any of these phases can lead to unchecked, life-threatening cancer.
A Medical Malpractice Lawyer Can Evaluate The Case.
A cancer misdiagnosis lawyer will look at each case to see if one can bring the claim. Generally, the most difficult question is to determine whether an earlier diagnosis would have changed the patient’s prognosis. A medical malpractice lawyer, in consultation with oncology specialists, can determine whether the delay in treating a specific cancer caused a loss that can be proven in a Florida court.