Failure to Diagnose and treat Cancer
Article posted on: 02/18/2008
A Pennsylvania jury has ordered a doctor to pay approximately $4 million after finding that he was negligent for failing to diagnose a woman's breast cancer. The lawsuit alleged that Dr. Joseph M. Skutches failed to pursue a traditional course of treatment after a woman complained to him about a painful lump in her breast.
If you or a loved one have ever received a diagnosis of cancer, you know that it is a life altering event. As with most illnesses, early diagnosis of cancer is the best ammunition that a patient has toward defeating the disease. If, however, the cancer was missed by physicians for an appreciable amount of time or simply not timely diagnosed, a patient can face dire consequences. Sadly, these delays in diagnosis can result in more invasive treatment, extended physical and emotional heartache and even death. Most cancers are either graded or staged in terms of their severity. The lower the grade or stage (i.e., the earlier the diagnosis), the better a patient's chances are of survival. Conversely, the higher the grade or stage, the worse a patient's chances are of survival. Importantly, a delay in diagnosis can increase the likelihood that the tumor will metastasize (spread) to the lungs, thereby significantly decreasing a person's chances of survival. In Maryland, failure to diagnose cases can only be pursued if the negligence caused the patient's cancer to progress from a stage in which the patient had a probability of surviving the cancer if he or she received proper treatment to a circumstance in which they now face a probability of death due to the growth / spread of the cancer inside the body.
As experienced Baltimore, Maryland medical malpractice attorneys, we have successfully settled or received favorable trial verdicts arising out of physicians' failure to timely diagnose cancer and other illnesses. Some of the more common types of cancer misdiagnoses that we have handled include: brain tumors, breast cancer, lung cancer, bone cancer, cartilaginous tumors, pancreatic cancer, liver cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer, cervical cancer, esophageal cancer, nasal cavity cancer, colon cancer and and rectal cancer. Determining whether a physician negligently failed to diagnose and/or timely diagnose cancer requires a detailed analysis of a patient's medical records and the assistance of trained medical–legal experts. Our office not only has the resources to conduct this detailed investigation and retain world–class experts, but we have the expertise to present and explain a complicated case to a jury. Together with our medical–legal experts, we investigate whether the physicians failed to properly interpret diagnostic tests, failed or delayed in ordering the proper diagnostic tests, rendered an incorrect diagnosis of a patient's symptoms, missed tell–tale signs of an illness or disease process, failed to refer the patient to a specialist in the field, or erred in pathological, radiological or laboratory testing.
Those who have been victimized by a physician's failure to timely diagnose cancer or another illness face a host of medical, economic, physical, emotional and psychological issues. Sadly, in many instances, a missed or untimely diagnosis may result in a patient receiving the most tragic of prognoses. If you or a loved one believe that medical negligence has resulted in the spread of your cancer or other disease process, caused you to need for unnecessary treatment, or decreased your chances of surviving your cancer or disease process, call the lawyers at STSW for a free consultation or visit our website to set up your free consultation.