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When doctors don’t diagnose cancer quickly, patients often suffer

On Behalf of | Mar 28, 2023 | Failure To Diagnose / Misdiagnosis

The ability of medical professionals to treat certain cancers more effectively has increased substantially in recent decades. Many cancers now respond quite well to treatment and have much better survival rates than in decades prior.

However, for people to have the best outcome, they need an accurate diagnosis as early as possible. The science for diagnosis has improved as well, as doctors have access to a host of imaging tests, as well as tests to genetically sequence cancer after a biopsy. It has never been easier to accurately diagnose someone, but that isn’t always what happens. The unfortunate truth is that doctors often fail in their diagnostic role and put their patients at risk of not getting the care they require.

Cancer progresses quickly in many cases

A few weeks of delay could be the difference between a basic surgical procedure to excise a localized tumor and the need to undergo chemotherapy or mediation treatment for widespread cancer. All too often, people have a poor prognosis and fewer treatment options because a doctor failed at their job and the cancer metastasized as a result.

A doctor might assume that the cause of someone’s symptoms is a minor issue, like a respiratory infection, when the true issue has to do with the proliferation of cancer cells. The diagnostic process demands that a physician carefully review someone’s symptoms and history to arrive at an accurate conclusion regarding the cause of their medical concerns.

Unfortunately, doctors often diagnose people before they do not have conclusive evidence supporting their suspicions. They fail to rule out cancer and other serious conditions and thereby do a grave disservice to their patients.

People have rights after diagnostic failures

When a medical professional fails to order proper testing or listen to a patient’s report of their own symptoms, the outcome could be devastating for the patient involved. Not only could they require more painful and invasive treatment, but their costs for care may also go up substantially.

Both patients who are diagnosed too late and surviving loved ones who discover a diagnostic error only after someone dies may have grounds to pursue a claim against the medical professional that failed in their diagnostic efforts. Pursuing a medical malpractice claim with the assistance of an experienced legal professional can potentially compensate those harmed by poor physician practices and prompt a medical professional to change how they approach their job.