A recent lawsuit was finally concluded when a jury awarded $6 million to a family who lost their loved one due to medical negligence. The medical malpractice lawsuit involved a Newark doctor that failed to diagnose a patientâ€™s cancer, causing his death.
In December of 2007, the patient visited his doctor because he found blood in his stool and had a family member who died from colon cancer. His doctor conducted a colonoscopy, but told the patient the bleeding was a direct result of hemorrhoids. Two years later, the patient went to the emergency room for severe pain. Doctors discovered there was a mass on his liver. The patient had been misdiagnosed and had colon cancer that spread to his liver. After chemotherapy and several surgeries, the patient died in 2011. Had the doctor correctly diagnosed the patientâ€™s cancer, the patient might still be alive today.
Failure to Diagnose Can Be Medical Malpractice
We trust our doctors to make the right choices and give us their full attention in addressing all of our health concerns. However, if a doctor fails to recognize or misreads the symptoms and risk factors for illnesses as serious as cancer, the consequences can be fatal. There are several negligent mistakes doctors can make when diagnosing a patient, including:
- Failure to diagnose
- Delayed diagnosis
A failure to diagnose deprives a patient of what is possibly critical medical treatment. As illnesses such as cancer progress, the window for viable treatment options may close. This situation usually occurs when a doctor fails to take patient complaints seriously or fails to give the proper amount of time to analyze the patientâ€™s condition.
A misdiagnosis can technically be considered a failure to diagnose. However, a misdiagnosis can also occur if a doctor diagnoses a patient with a completely different condition than what the patient actually has. This usually results in painful, unnecessary procedures that ultimately do not improve and may even worsen the patientâ€™s condition.
Delayed diagnoses often occur when the doctor fails to make the correct connection between a patientâ€™s symptoms and the condition. A delayed diagnosis, especially with cancer, can have terrible effects on a patientâ€™s outcome. Unfortunately, this is the most common type of diagnosis error. Typically with cancer cases, if the patient had a less than 50 percent chance of survival regardless of any diagnosis error, it is difficult to pursue legal action against the negligent doctor.
If you have even the slightest suspicion that you have been misdiagnosed or a doctor has failed to diagnose a condition, it is imperative that you seek a second and even third opinion.