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Misdiagnosis and Delayed Cancer Diagnosis: Do I Have a Medical Malpractice Claim?

Posted on in Medical Malpractice

Houston Medical Malpractice attorney

Cancer touches the lives of millions of people all over the world. Sadly, many cancer patients do not survive. Others survive but must endure hours of painful treatments that result in massive medical bills. Typically, the sooner doctors and other medical professionals diagnose a person with cancer and begin treatment, the greater the patient’s chances of beating the disease. When cancer diagnoses are delayed or missed entirely, the patient may have the right to pursue a medical malpractice claim. The patient, or the patient’s surviving loved ones, may be entitled to monetary damages.

Failure to Diagnose Cancer

Cancer often starts with innocuous, mild symptoms. A person may experience pain or fatigue that they assume is the common cold or simply the result of working too hard. They may have a fever or notice they are losing weight. Although these symptoms seem like no big deal to the layperson, medical professionals know that sometimes even mild symptoms can be a sign of a much greater issue. Doctors use diagnostic tests such as blood tests, imagining tests, endoscopy, and biopsy to determine if symptoms may be a sign of cancer. However, some doctors fail to order these tests or correctly interpret the results. When a doctor fails to diagnose cancer in a timely manner, he or she may be guilty of medical negligence.  

The Medical Standard of Care

It can be hard to know for sure if a doctor’s failure to diagnose cancer is medical negligence. Doctors cannot always immediately know what medical conditions a patient suffers from. The standard used in medical malpractice cases to determine if a doctor acted negligently is the “medical standard of care.” This hypothetical standard is the type of care that a reasonably competent doctor of similar expertise would provide in similar circumstances.

Often, a highly-regarded medical professional acts as an expert witness in a failure to diagnose claim. The medical professional draws upon his or her education, experience, and the current medical literature to evaluate the doctor’s actions. The expert witness’s professional opinion often plays a major role in the case. Medical records, written communication, and other evidence are also used to determine if the doctor acted negligently.

If a doctor was negligent, the patient or patient’s family may be entitled to damages. They may recover compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more.

Contact a Houston Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If you or a loved one suffered from undiagnosed cancer, contact the Law Office of Shane R. Kadlec for help. Harris County medical malpractice attorney Shane Kadlec can evaluate your situation and help you determine your legal rights and options. Call 281-643-2000 for a free consultation.


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