Failure To Timely Diagnose Breast Cancer - Medical Malpractice

Article posted on:03/03/2008

A woman with terminal breast cancer was awarded $12 million in damages from two doctors that allegedly failed to diagnose the disease until it was too late, a Pennsylvania jury ruled this past Wednesday. According to the lawsuit, the doctor missed several opportunities to report abnormalities that should have resulted in a diagnosis of breast cancer. Another doctor named as a defendant reached a confidential settlement prior to trial, according to an attorney for the woman.

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.

At the law firm of Silverman Thompson Slutkin & White, we are experienced at handling a wide variety of serious injury cases, such as those involving medical malpractice arising from the failure to timely diagnose cancer. In fact, we regularly obtain million dollar plus settlements and verdicts for our clients in medical malpractice cases, and have been trial counsel in some of the largest multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements in the area.