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When a diagnosis gets missed

Posted by Scott M. Peterson | Jul 16, 2015 | 0 Comments

Many people share a common fear about going to the doctor.  They are afraid that they will find out that something is wrong.  They don't want to hear it, so they put off going.  Most of the time when they do finally go things turn out okay.

What most people do not think about, until it is too late, is what happens if they go to the doctor and are told that nothing is wrong, when in fact something is very wrong.

Medical Misdiagnosis is a legitimate concern

Sara has been feeling a lump on her leg for a few months.  She has watchfully kept an eye on it, but has noticed that it is getting slightly less comfortable.  So she makes an appointment to see her orthopedist.  Sara's ortho, like most doctors these days, has less than fifteen minutes for the appointment.  He goes through the general questions, quickly looks at the lump, and tells her that it is a cyst and is nothing to worry about.  He sends her on her way.

During the course of the next six months Sara's “cyst” grows to roughly ten times its original size.  When she goes back to the orthopedic group (this time to a new doctor), she is told that she has a sarcoma (a cancerous mass) that will now require amputation of her leg in order to prevent it from spreading.   Sara is understandable beside herself.  She did everything that she could.

Patients need to be advocates for themselves

Sara's situation is not, unfortunately, uncommon.  We see cases of medical and cancer misdiagnosis in our practice, and frequently it is the result of a failure by the physician to pay proper attention to something that was right in front of them.  Sometimes this is simply the result of the physician having been rushed on a particular day.  Sometimes it's the result of the doctor not being open to the possibility that his initial impression of the mass was wrong.

What this means is that you, as the patient, need to be an advocate for yourself.  If you know that something feels wrong insist on a follow up or go for a second opinion.

A failure to diagnose cancer lawsuit

Failure to diagnose cancer lawsuits, like any malpractice lawsuits, can be difficult.  Quite a bit of deference is given to physicians, both by the legal system and the jury system.  That being said if you have been the victim of a misdiagnosis or a late diagnosis of cancer it is imperative that you contact a qualified late medical diagnosis attorney.  Unfortunately there is nothing that can be done to go back in time and make the diagnosis, however by fighting back after a late diagnosis you may be able to help ensure that the next time a patient presents with your symptoms the doctor will be more careful about his diagnosis.

If you have questions about a late medical diagnosis give us a call, we're happy to help.  518-308-8339.

About the Author

Scott M. Peterson

Scott M. Peterson is the founding partner of D'Orazio Peterson, having left a partnership at a large regional law firm to limit his practice and focus on helping people protect their families.


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