New York Failure to Diagnose Cancer Attorneys
Cancer Diagnosis Errors Could Be a Sign of Medical Malpractice
Misdiagnosing cancer, failing to diagnose cancer, and diagnosing cancer after it has progressed beyond the point of treatment are mistakes that should never occur. Yet, all too often, medical professionals make serious cancer diagnosis errors that end up costing patients their lives.
If you believe your cancer diagnosis was negligently delayed, or if your loved one’s doctor failed to diagnose him/her with cancer until it was too late for treatment, reach out to Simonson Goodman Platzer PC to learn more about your legal rights.
Our New York failure to diagnose cancer lawyers have decades of experience and a proven track record of success—we know how to recognize inexcusable medical mistakes, and we know how to win the compensation our clients are owed. We are ready to fight for you and your family.
The Dangers of Delayed Diagnosis & Misdiagnosis of Cancer
Misdiagnosing cancer or diagnosing it when it’s too late to treat successfully is a serious error that should not occur. Doctors today have numerous advanced diagnostic tools, such as digital mammograms, MRIs, CAT/CT scans, and biopsies, so failing to diagnose or misdiagnosing cancer should almost never occur.
However, statistics reveal that while, annually, more than 300,000 men and women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, or malignant melanoma (skin cancer), there are still thousands of patients whose cancer is not diagnosed or diagnosed too late for treatment. These unfortunate patients—as well as their spouses, children and other family members—suffer the consequences.
These consequences can be incredibly severe and even fatal. In nearly all cases, cancer treatment is most successful when it begins in the early stages of cancer. This necessitates a timely diagnosis. In other words, the earlier cancer is caught, diagnosed, and treated, the better the chances of recovery, remission, and survival.
How Do Medical Professionals Fail to Diagnose Cancer?
It can be difficult to believe that a highly trained oncologist, pathologist, or radiologist would miss cancer, but this happens with surprising frequency. In the majority of cases, failure to diagnose cancer comes down to negligence—the treating provider failed to do something that another qualified provider would have done or, conversely, did something that another qualified provider would not have done. This is known as breaching the standard of care, and it constitutes malpractice.
Health care providers may fail to diagnose cancer as a result of:
- Dismissing a patient’s symptoms
- Misdiagnosing a patient with another condition/illness
- Failing to order proper diagnostic tests
- Testing mistakes
- Misreading a biopsy or scan
- Failing to analyze test results properly
Patients who fall outside the normal standards in terms of cancer symptoms, age, and other factors are more at risk of not being diagnosed with cancer or having their diagnosis delayed. For example, a doctor may delay diagnosing a patient with lung cancer if the patient is not a smoker, or a doctor may fail to diagnose a male patient with breast cancer, as it is far rarer for men to develop this form of cancer than women.
Regardless, medical providers are responsible for doing everything reasonable to reach a timely and correct diagnosis for every single patient. When they fail to do so, they can be held accountable.
Second Opinion for Serious Medical Diagnoses is Must
In his best-selling book, From Fatigued to Fantastic (Third Edition), Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum recommends a patient always get a second opinion after they have been diagnosed with a serious medical condition like cancer, particularly women who are told they have breast cancer.
With so much riding on an accurate diagnosis, it pays to be cautious and see what another medical professional has to say. Dr. Teitelbaum recommends patients follow these five steps when seeking out a second opinion for a serious diagnosis.
Dr. Teitelbaum’s five steps for getting a second opinion are:
Do the two doctors agree?
If the two doctors don’t agree on the diagnosis, then you should get a third opinion. Consult with a university hospital or other academic medical center if you can.
Find out which are the two or three best treatment options available.
Patients should understand the benefits, risks, and costs associated with each option, which is part of establishing “informed consent.” While most doctors do what they believe is in the best interest of their patients, practicing medicine is a business and there are financial incentives that can cloud a physician’s judgment. For example, if a recommended procedure is a significant source of the doctor’s income, then that doctor could prescribe it without giving alternatives a fair assessment.
Consider the differences in quality-of-life issues.
Whether one treatment will prolong life over another isn’t the only question the patient should ask. How long will the treatment work, how painful will it be, and how much will it cost are three other really important considerations. The unfortunate truth is that many doctors don’t really know with any degree of certainty how long some treatments can prolong their patient’s life, so the quality of life gained from some cancer treatments is negligible.
Seek the opinion of a doctor with a different background.
You should consider getting an opinion from a physician with a different specialty. If the option on the table is surgery, speak with a non-surgeon. You might be surprised to find what insight a medical provider could have just because they have a different perspective on possible treatment options.
Take a family member or friend along.
Taking someone with you who can advocate for you when you visit a doctor can be very helpful. You should ask them to film or record the visit using their smartphone, so you can review what you’ve been told by your doctor in a more relaxed setting later. The recording will also be useful if you want to show another doctor what was discussed.
Over $200 Million Recovered for Our Clients
At Simonson Goodman Platzer PC, we understand just how devastating it is to realize that a trusted medical provider failed to uphold the standard of care. Whether you suffered serious harm, including untreatable and incurable cancer, or your loved one died as a result of receiving substandard care, our firm is ready to fight for you.
For years, our attorneys have fought for victims of medical negligence in New York and New Jersey. We have successfully handled 98% of the cases we have taken on and, in total, have recovered more than $200 million in settlements and verdicts to date. When you trust your claim to our team, one of our experienced and award-winning partners will be directly involved in your case from the very beginning and through the entire duration of your case.
Justice for Some Victims of Cancer Misdiagnosis
New York has joined several other states in enacting legislation that provides some measure of justice for cancer victims. The legislation, known as Lavern’s Law, is named for Brooklyn resident Lavern Wilkinson, who died in 2013 of lung cancer after her doctors misdiagnosed her.
In signing the legislation, Governor Cuomo said, “No one should have to go through what Lavern Wilkinson and her family did, and this agreement will help protect cancer patients and their loved ones, while also addressing concerns from the medical field."
For cancer cases the 2½-year statute of limitations runs not from the actual time of the malpractice, but rather upon reasonable discovery that he/she has been a victim of malpractice. In most cases the reasonable discovery will begin to run upon the time of the diagnosis of cancer. One important caveat is that no case can be brought later than seven years following the actual malpractice.
In cases against municipalities, including the New York Health and Hospitals Corporation, a notice of claim need no longer be filed within 90 days of the actual mail practice, but the time is extended to 90 days from a reasonable discovery that he/she has been a victim of malpractice.
The medical malpractice lawyers at Simonson Goodman Platzer PC are now investigating several cases that would have been blocked but for Lavern’s law.