A delayed cancer diagnosis is often devastating for a patient and for their family members. Much too frequently, when a delayed cancer diagnosis occurs, a patient seeks an accurate diagnosis from a primary care physician or even sees a specialist, only to receive the wrong diagnosis. As a result of the misdiagnosis, the patient’s cancer often spreads, and the patient may not realize that a delayed cancer diagnosis has occurred until it is too late to receive life-saving treatment. There are many different reasons for a delayed cancer diagnosis, and multiple health care providers ultimately may be liable for the delay in the patient receiving a proper diagnosis and getting treatment for cancer. If you or someone you love recently learned they have advanced cancer following a delayed diagnosis, who may be responsible if you file a medical malpractice lawsuit? Our Albany delayed cancer diagnosis lawyers can provide you with more information.
Primary Care Provider Who Misdiagnosed Cancer
In many delayed diagnoses of cancer, a primary care provider may be liable for misdiagnosing the patient’s cancer or failing to recommend that the patient see a specialist for an accurate diagnosis or further testing. Often in these circumstances, a patient will experience symptoms and will see a doctor, and the doctor will fail to diagnose cancer or advise the patient to see a specialist for additional tests to determine whether the symptoms point to cancer.
Specialist Who Misdiagnosed Cancer
In some cases involving a delayed diagnosis, a primary care physician will do exactly what she or he should do when a patient presents with possible cancer symptoms by referring that patient to a specialist for additional testing or assessment. Yet in some circumstances, the specialist will then misdiagnose cancer, and the patient will not receive an accurate diagnosis until she or he visits another health care provider later on after symptoms worsen. In these situations, the specialist may be liable for the delayed cancer diagnosis.
Pathologist Who Made an Error in Assessing Sample
Some delayed cancer diagnoses involve mistakes made by a pathologist who is assessing a sample from a cancer screening or another type of test designed to identify cancer cells. Pathologists can make mistakes in many different ways, from misidentifying or overlooking cancer cells in a sample to mixing up specimens and providing another patient with a misdiagnosis of cancer-based on the switched samples. When a pathologist makes a mistake that delays a cancer diagnosis, the pathologist can be responsible for the cancer patient’s harm.
Laboratory Responsible for a Mistake That Led to a Delayed Diagnosis
When laboratory samples are switched, or another error is made in the laboratory where a specimen is being assessed for cancer cells, the laboratory itself could be responsible for a patient’s delayed cancer diagnosis.
Patient Who Failed to Seek a Medical Assessment Despite Having Symptoms
In some cases, a patient might be fully or partially responsible for a delayed diagnosis if that patient fails to seek a medical assessment based on his or her symptoms or fails to see a doctor for a routine screening, according to the Journal of Clinical Oncology. It can be devastating to learn that an advanced cancer diagnosis could have been prevented with a regular routine cancer screening, or if you had gone to the doctor earlier when you experienced symptoms. In such cases, it may be difficult to hold a health care provider accountable, but you should speak with an Albany medical malpractice attorney to learn more about delayed diagnosis caused by negligence and the effects of comparative fault.
Sometimes multiple parties can be liable for a delayed diagnosis, and a patient or her family may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against two or more parties who bear responsibility for the delay in diagnosing cancer.
Contact an Experienced Albany Delayed Cancer Diagnosis Lawyer Today
Nobody should have to learn that they have advanced cancer because of a delayed diagnosis caused by a health care provider’s negligence. When you visit a primary care physician or a specialist in order to receive an accurate and timely diagnosis, you should be able to expect that your doctor will not make a mistake that will be a life-threatening error. However, medical negligence happens more often than most patients like to think about, and cancer can be missed or misdiagnosed by a variety of health care providers. If you have been harmed by a delayed cancer diagnosis, it is important to seek legal advice and to take steps to hold the negligent health care provider accountable.
One of our dedicated Albany delayed cancer diagnosis attorneys can speak with you today about your case. Contact Powers & Santola, LLP for more information about how we can assist you.