FAQs About Cancer Misdiagnosis

Cancer Misdiagnosis FAQs

Should I contact a lawyer if my cancer was misdiagnosed?

Cancer misdiagnosis claims are complex cases, and you need an attorney to help you comply with the statute of limitations, understand your rights, negotiate with the medical malpractice insurer and bring your case to court if necessary.

At the Law Offices of Scott C. Gottlieb & Associates, LLP, our Rochester malpractice lawyers are ready to help you. Call us now at (585) 546-8120 or 800-825-5529 or contact us via our online contact form. All calls and inquiries receive a response the same day, usually within one hour. There is no cost for a case review.

What if my loved one died as a result of a cancer misdiagnosis?

If a close relative died as a result of a cancer misdiagnosis, you may be able to bring a wrongful death claim. These claims can be brought by close family members including spouses, children and parents of minor children. A wrongful death claim might allow you to obtain compensation for the loss of services as well as for the financial support that the deceased would have provided to your family if the untimely death had not occurred.

How do I locate medical experts who can help with my cancer diagnosis claim?

At the Law Offices of Scott C. Gottlieb & Associates, LLP, our Rochester attorneys have extensive experience representing clients whose cancer has been misdiagnosed. We are connected to an extensive network of medical professionals who can review your medical records and provide informed expert opinions related to the errors made in your case. When we represent you, we will work to gather the evidence you need, find experts to testify on your behalf and take care of all aspects of getting compensation for you.

Can I take action against my doctor for the misdiagnosis?

If you are misdiagnosed with cancer, the health care provider responsible could be considered liable for medical malpractice. You might be able to take action against a doctor, a lab that made an error in reading results, or a hospital or other health care provider. You will need to show that the misdiagnosis was a negligent mistake that no reasonable medical professional would have made and that you suffered harm as a direct result.

What types of cancer treatments are available?

There are a variety of different types of cancer treatments, including drug therapy, chemotherapy, surgical intervention and radiation. The appropriate treatment depends on the stage of the cancer, the aggressiveness and type of cancer and a host of other factors. When creating a treatment plan, doctors are expected to use reasonable skills and to have medical knowledge and ability commensurate with what another physician should have in a similar situation. 

What are the consequences of a cancer misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose?

When a physician fails to diagnose someone with cancer or makes a misdiagnosis, the consequences can be very severe. A person who is diagnosed with cancer that he or she doesn’t actually have can end up getting unnecessary painful and costly medical treatments that have dangerous side effects.

A person who is not diagnosed with cancer even though it is present could see a significant decline in the chance for successful treatment. For example, many cancers have remission rates as high as 90 percent when diagnosed early. Those rates can drop to below 10 percent as a result of delay. When cancer moves throughout the body (metastasizes), successful treatment can become impossible. A patient might lose the chance to recover and go on to live a full life with a normal life expectancy because of a doctor or lab error.

What is a failure to diagnose?

When a physician gives you an inaccurate medical prognosis or fails to identify that you have a specific medical condition or problem, this can constitute a failure to diagnose. For example, a doctor may not understand the seriousness of your symptoms and may fail to perform the proper tests to diagnose you with cancer. In some cases, the cancer is never diagnosed and in other cases the failure to diagnose results in delayed treatment.

What does the term “medical prognosis” mean?

When you are diagnosed with a disease such as cancer, the physician will give you a medical prognosis. This is a prediction about how your disease will evolve and how your disease will affect you. Your medical prognosis is an educated guess about the course of your disease and about the possibility of a cure. The prognosis may be given to varying degrees of specificity, with a favorable prognosis indicating that you are likely to respond well to treatment and improve, and an unfavorable diagnosis indicating that your cancer may not respond well to treatment or that a cure may not be possible.

How does a cancer misdiagnosis occur?

A misdiagnosis can happen for a number of different reasons. Doctors sometimes do not listen to what patients say about their symptoms or do not recognize the seriousness of the symptoms that a patient describes. At other times, doctors may fail to order lab tests when they should or fail to refer a patient to a specialist for a proper diagnosis. When lab tests are ordered, they may be read incorrectly, or the lab results may not be matched to the correct patient.

How can I prove that I was harmed by my cancer misdiagnosis?

Proving that you were actually harmed by a cancer misdiagnosis can be the most difficult part of making a medical malpractice case. This is because your medical providers will likely argue that the outcome of your cancer treatment would have been the same regardless of when you were diagnosed and regardless of the mistakes they made. With the help of a medical malpractice lawyer, however, you can have experts review your medical records and information to determine the actual harm you suffered as a result of the doctor’s error.