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Is Failing to Diagnose Cancer Considered Medical Malpractice?

We trust doctors and other medical professionals to have the training and experience needed to properly identify our symptoms and provide an accurate diagnosis. In fact, medical providers are required to do everything they can to correctly recognize and respond to a patient’s symptoms—this is known as the standard of care, and doctors have a duty to provide it. When a trusted medical professional fails to diagnose a patient’s illness or condition, such as cancer, this may be a form of medical malpractice.

Why These Cases Are Complex

While medical providers are required by law to provide patients with a certain standard of care, the law also recognizes that doctors, nurses, oncologists, anesthesiologists, and other medical providers are human and, because of this, they are likely to make some mistakes. Symptoms of various illnesses and conditions often mimic each other, and a doctor may be unable to pinpoint exactly what is wrong right away. A doctor may even fail to diagnose an extremely rare condition or form of cancer.

However, when a doctor is negligent in treating a patient and, therefore, fails to diagnose that patient’s condition, the doctor has breached his or her duty to provide an acceptable level of care.

How can you tell if a doctor was negligent in failing to diagnose cancer? Some examples include:

  • Not taking a patient’s self-reported symptoms seriously
  • Failing to recommend a patient see a specialist
  • Failing to order necessary tests
  • Incorrectly analyzing tests/laboratory results
  • Failing to take a patient’s medical history into account

Essentially, any time an oncologist or another medical professional acts unreasonably or does not provide the same care one could have reasonably expected to receive from another competent provider, that doctor has likely committed medical malpractice.

Understanding Your Rights

Failing to diagnose cancer can lead to devastating consequences. Individuals who would have otherwise been able to receive proper treatment may go through significant pain and suffering. Without treatment, they may even die.

If a doctor failed to diagnose you or your loved one’s cancer, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim. If your claim is successful, you can recover financial compensation for your damages, including medical bills for additional testing and treatment, lost income/wages from time taken off work to visit the doctor or due to disability, physical and emotional pain and suffering, and more. If your loved one died as a result of a doctor’s failure to diagnose cancer, you may be able to pursue justice and financial recovery through a wrongful death claim.

Our attorneys can help. At Huffman & Huffman, we understand the complex nature of medical malpractice cases. With a proven track record of success and decades of legal experience, our medical malpractice attorneys are prepared to advocate for you and your family.

Give us a call today at (757) 330-3425 or contact us online to request a free and confidential consultation.