Failure to Diagnose Cancer

Attorneys Representing Patients Harmed by Medical Malpractice in Boca Raton

Cancer is a devastating illness, but when it is caught early, it is often treatable. Missed or delayed cancer diagnoses can be exceptionally harmful, though, since they can lead to the progression of the disease, making it harder to treat. Doctors have a duty to protect their patients’ health, which includes providing a timely and accurate diagnosis. When doctors fail to diagnose cancer, they should be deemed responsible for any harm that their patients subsequently suffer. If you or a loved one sustained damages due to a doctor’s failure to diagnose cancer, the capable Boca Raton misdiagnosis lawyers at The Grife Law Firm can assess the circumstances surrounding your harm and advise you on your options for pursuing damages.

Harm Caused by a Failure to Diagnose Cancer

Cancer is a progressive disease. Smaller cancers that have not grown past their point of origin are typically known as Stage I, while cancers that have spread into surrounding tissues or lymph nodes may be Stage II or Stage III. Stage IV cancer has spread to a person’s organs or other parts of the body. While a person’s treatment regimens and prognosis will vary depending on the type of cancer, a person’s chances of recovering and leading a long and enjoyable life increase when cancer is diagnosed at an earlier stage. Thus, if a doctor fails to diagnose cancer, it can reduce the likelihood that the cancer will go into remission with treatment or that the patient will survive.

Numerous factors can cause a failure to diagnose cancer. For example, a doctor may not take a patient’s complaints seriously and may fail to order appropriate tests, such as x-rays or biopsies. In some cases, a doctor will order the proper tests, but another practitioner, such as a radiologist or pathologist, will interpret the results inaccurately and miss the fact that they indicate that a patient has cancer.

Proving Liability for a Doctor’s Failure to Diagnose Cancer

Failures in diagnosing cancer are among the primary types of medical malpractice in Florida. There are certain elements that a plaintiff in a case arising out of a failure to diagnose cancer must prove to recover damages. First, the plaintiff must establish the standard of care that applied to the defendant.

Under Florida Statute 766.102, the relevant standard is the treatment or care that a reasonably sensible doctor who works in the same practice area as the defendant would provide in a similar situation. In other words, if the defendant is a radiologist, the standard of care would be based on the skill that a competent radiologist would exercise under the relevant circumstances. Second, the plaintiff must show that the defendant’s failure to diagnose cancer constituted a departure from the standard. Third, the plaintiff needs to establish that the defendant’s breach caused the plaintiff to suffer measurable harm.

In some instances, a defendant may argue that the plaintiff’s negligence contributed to the damages sustained. For example, if a plaintiff failed to schedule follow-up appointments or tests in a timely manner, the defendant might point to the delays as a cause of the plaintiff’s losses. While Florida Statute 768.81 provides that a plaintiff’s contributory fault can be used to proportionately diminish the damages awarded to the plaintiff, a plaintiff’s negligence cannot bar the recovery of compensation.

Contact a Seasoned Boca Raton Attorney

Cancer is usually diagnosed through a series of tests, but when a doctor fails to take the steps necessary to provide a patient with a timely and correct cancer diagnosis, it can lead to immeasurable losses. If you or someone in your family sustained damages due to a doctor’s failure to diagnose cancer, it is advisable to speak to a lawyer about your potential claims. The seasoned medical malpractice lawyers at The Grife Law Firm have ample experience helping people harmed by medical professionals' negligence in the pursuit of damages, and we will advocate aggressively on your behalf. We regularly represent patients in cases in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and West Palm Beach. We can be reached through our online form or by calling 855-998-0770 to set up a meeting.

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