The necessity of an early diagnosis is fundamental to save a cancer patient’s life. Different kinds of the disease have different survival rates and, in many cases, the curability of cancers such as lymphoma, colon cancer or breast cancer in its early stages is extremely successful, ranging from 100% to 80% (American Cancer Society). Unfortunately, cancer misdiagnosis by doctors has a high incidence rate in the United States. A study by the BMJ (British Medical Journal) indicates that cancer misdiagnosis takes place with 15% – 28% of the American patients, and that in 30% of these medical malpractice cases, the results are severe and life threatening.
Misdiagnosis occurs for different reasons, some common causes are the failure to order the correct examinations, misinterpretation of tests, failure to properly treat atypical test results, and negligence to dedicate an adequate amount of time for patient evaluation. A late diagnosis has a greater impact for cancer patients due to the disease’s metastatic nature as it advances stages, causing survival rates to drop up to 90%. These failures in making a diagnosis represent medical malpractice, and they can cause permanent harm to the patient, as well as eventual loss of life.
Among different kinds of cancer misdiagnosis, colon cancer takes place with frequent incidence, and survival rates can drop almost 30% by every two stages it advances. In the New York case of Vetrano v. Mariwalla, for instance, a doctor’s failure to diagnose a 40-year-old female patient with colon cancer lead to a stage IV cancer, metastasis and eventual death. While the plaintiff’s family was able to recover $2 million in a claim against the doctor in the NY Supreme Court, the outcomes of the doctor’s failings were irreversible.
In the case of breast cancer, which is another common form of the disease, the ability of early diagnosis generally means that a patient will encounter 100% chances of survival, whereas a late diagnosis causes survival rates to drop to 22% (American Cancer Society). In the New York case Levinsky v. Painter, for example, a doctor’s delayed diagnosis of a 33 year-old female patient complaining of a lump resulted in breast cancer advanced to Stage 4, the plaintiff was then able to recover $ 31 million in a claim against the doctor at the New York Supreme Court. Such cases of medical negligence expose the severe outcomes that failure to diagnose cancer can cause, and patients who encounter such behavior should seek to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, which allows plaintiffs to recover expenses and any other damages that may have resulted from medical negligence.
Victims of New York medical malpractice are strongly advised to seek legal assistance from a New York medical malpractice law firm. In case a patient feels that they’ve been misdiagnosed, or that a doctor failed to correctly analyze their condition, please feel free to call Gordon Price Diefenbach, an attorney in Manhattan who has been handling these kinds of cases for nearly 30 years for a free assessment. The 24-Hour Hotline is (917) 734-7111. He will either speak with you the moment you call, or will return your call within a matter of hours.