While most people think about delayed cancer diagnosis cases in relation to adults who seek an accurate diagnosis from a health care provider after experiencing symptoms or following a routine screening procedure, it is important to know that a delayed cancer diagnosis can also affect younger people, including children. Indeed, delayed pediatric cancer diagnoses occur, resulting in devastating consequences for young kids and their parents. There are various reasons for delayed cancer diagnoses in children, and it is critical to understand that healthcare providers can be accountable just as they can be in an adult delayed cancer diagnosis case.
What is a Delayed Pediatric Diagnosis in Albany?
A delayed pediatric diagnosis refers to a situation in which a pediatric patient (i.e., a child) does not receive a timely diagnosis. A delayed pediatric cancer diagnosis, a child is not accurately diagnosed with cancer in a timely manner such that the child can receive effective treatment, or such that cancer does not spread and require additional invasive treatments or therapies.
How Do Delayed Pediatric Cancer Diagnoses Happen?
There are many different causes for a delayed pediatric cancer diagnosis, and some of those causes are more common than others. According to an article published in the journal Cancer and cataloged by the National Library of Medicine, the most common causes of delays in pediatric cancer diagnoses include the following:
- Patient or parent issue
- Disease complications
- Health care negligence
As that article underscores, “the main factors related to diagnosis delay were the child’s age at diagnosis, parent level of education, type of cancer, presentation of symptoms, tumor site, cancer stage, and first medical specialty consulted.” Pediatric cancer cases can be misdiagnosed because the child is too young to accurately identify symptoms or the parent fails to recognize symptoms, as well as because parents are not considering the possibility of cancer and seeking appropriate medical care. At the same time, a health care provider’s negligence, by failing to identify symptoms or to recommend that the child see a specialist for an accurate diagnosis, can be the cause of a harmful delayed diagnosis.
You May Be Able to File a Delayed Diagnosis Claim for a Pediatric Injury in Albany
If a healthcare provider failed to properly diagnose your child’s cancer and your child suffered any harm as a result, it may be possible to file a delayed cancer lawsuit in Albany. The statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits—delayed cancer diagnosis cases are one type of medical malpractice claim—is a bit different than the statute of limitations for other types of personal injury cases.
Under New York law, the general statute of limitations for a medical malpractice lawsuit is 2.5 years from the date of the healthcare provider’s negligence that gave rise to the injury. As such, for a delayed pediatric cancer diagnosis case, the 2.5-year statute of limitations would start to tick on the date that the provider inaccurately diagnosed your child or merely failed to provide an accurate diagnosis when your child saw the provider. However, it is important to know that there are a couple of key exceptions in delayed pediatric cancer diagnosis cases that may apply to your child’s case.
First, under New York law, the statute of limitations in a medical malpractice lawsuit can be tolled (i.e., paused) in cases where a healthcare provider’s negligent failure to diagnose cancer caused harm. In these types of cases, a plaintiff must file a lawsuit either within 2.5 years from the date that the plaintiff knew or should have known about the delayed diagnosis (but not more than 7 years after the health care provider’s negligence), or within 2.5 years from the last date of continuous treatment. More importantly, in pediatric cases, the statute of limitations can often be tolled for an even longer period of time. In cases involving a pediatric patient, the statute of limitations can be extended to the date the child turns 18 years old (but not more than 10 years from the date of the healthcare provider’s negligence).
Contact Our Albany Delayed Cancer Diagnosis Attorneys for Assistance with Your Case
If your child has been diagnosed with cancer but was harmed because of a delayed diagnosis, it may be possible to file a claim. One of the experienced Albany delayed cancer diagnosis attorneys at our firm can evaluate your case today and speak with you about options for moving forward with a claim. Pediatric cases can be complex, but our firm is here to help you. Contact Powers & Santola, LLP in Albany for more information.