Learning that you experienced a delayed cancer diagnosis is devastating. When you see a doctor and seek an accurate diagnosis of a symptom, or when you attend all of your routine screening appointments, you should be able to expect that you will receive a clear diagnosis or that your health care provider will properly recognize any indicators that you could have cancer. Yet medical errors happen with far too much frequency. In some cases of medical mistakes, the patient ultimately is able to receive effective treatment but with additional pain and added costs. However, in many delayed cancer diagnosis cases, the patient is diagnosed with late-stage cancer that cannot be cured. When a delayed cancer diagnosis results from a health care provider’s error, it is critical to work with an experienced Albany delayed cancer diagnosis attorney to hold the health care provider accountable and to seek compensation.
What types of mistakes most commonly result in a delayed cancer diagnosis in Albany? Most of those errors involve a health care provider making a devastating mistake, but it is important to understand when a patient’s error can also play a role in a delayed cancer diagnosis. Consider the following information.
Patient Reports Symptoms to a Primary Care Provider Who Fails to Identify Possible Cancer
One of the most devastating mistakes that result in a delayed cancer diagnosis is when a patient makes an appointment with a primary care provider because of symptoms, and the primary care provider fails to identify possible cancer in the patient. For example, a patient might make an appointment with a primary care provider because of stomach pain, and that stomach pain might be due to cancer. However, the primary care provider might miss that possibility, or might disregard the possibility of cancer due to the patient’s young age or because of a recent screening. When a primary care physician fails to send a patient presenting with symptoms for a subsequent screening or to see a specialist, that error may result in liability in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Patient Presents with Symptoms to a Specialist Who Fails to Identify Possible Cancer
Sometimes a patient will report symptoms to a primary care provider who appropriately refers the patient to a specialist. Then, the specialist will fail to diagnose the patient’s cancer as a result, for example, of missing indicators of cancer.
Patient Screening Results Are Misinterpreted
Many patients regularly attend routine screening appointments designed to detect cancer, such as mammograms designed to detect breast cancer, colonoscopies to detect colon cancer, Pap tests to detect cervical cancer, or CT scans to detect lung cancer. The results of screening tests must be interpreted by a health care provider, such as a pathologist or a radiologist. When that health care provider makes a mistake by misinterpreting the results and indicating that a patient does not have cancer (when the patient does have cancer), it may be possible to file a delayed diagnosis claim.
System Errors in Appointment Scheduling
According to the Patient Safety Network and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), scheduling mistakes can also result in delayed diagnosis issues. The AHRQ points to “system factors,” which can include “delays in obtaining appointments” that ultimately impact a patient’s timely diagnosis. When a mistake results in an appointment delay and a subsequently delayed diagnosis, you should seek advice about filing a medical negligence claim.
In some instances, a delayed diagnosis is not the result of medical malpractice but rather a result of the patient’s delay in seeking a medical assessment following a symptom of cancer, and scheduling routine cancer screenings based on age and risk factors. It is extremely important to seek a diagnosis as quickly as possible when you experience any symptom that could indicate cancer, as well as to attend routine screenings based on current recommendations. When a patient’s own delay results in a delayed diagnosis, the delayed diagnosis likely will not have resulted from medical negligence.
Seek Help from an Albany Delayed Cancer Diagnosis Lawyer
Every patient should be able to trust that their health care provider will listen to their symptoms or concerns, recommend appropriate and timely screenings, and effectively identify any signs of cancer so that treatment can begin as soon as possible. When a health care provider makes a mistake—whether at the stage of seeing a primary care provider or seeking an opinion from a specialist—that results in a delayed diagnosis, it is critical to learn more about filing a claim. One of our experienced Albany delayed cancer diagnosis attorneys can evaluate your case and provide you with more information about filing a medical malpractice claim for financial compensation. Contact Powers & Santola, LLP today.