Doctors in the United States diagnose nearly 2 million new cases of cancer each year, and for patients and their families, the news can be deeply distressing. However, learning you or a loved one is the victim of a cancer misdiagnosis can be just as devastating, especially when it delays life-saving therapies or subjects patients to incorrect, unnecessary, or dangerous treatments.
If you or someone you love were harmed—or you lost a family member—due to a cancer misdiagnosis caused by a doctor or other health care provider’s negligence, you might be entitled to compensation. Peterson & Associates, P.C.’s experienced and empathetic Kansas City cancer misdiagnosis attorneys can help you understand your rights, explore options for recovery, and successfully navigate complex claims and litigation processes.
Here's what you need to know about medical malpractice cases in Missouri and Kansas, and how our accomplished legal team can work to secure the best possible outcome.
Cancer Misdiagnosis and Medical Malpractice
Cancer misdiagnoses aren’t uncommon. One large-scale study published in BMJ Quality & Safety suggests they may occur in up to 28 percent of cases. While not all misdiagnoses amount to malpractice, you may have grounds for legal action if you were harmed by a medical provider or facility’s deviation from the accepted standard of care. Common forms of cancer misdiagnosis include the following:
- Delayed diagnosis. This kind of misdiagnosis can occur when a doctor or other health care professional fails to make a timely diagnosis of cancer in a person seeking care, despite signs, symptoms, patient complaints, and test results that should have alerted a reasonable provider to the presence of a serious health problem. When a cancer diagnosis is delayed, treatment may also be delayed, which can allow the disease to metastasize and spread throughout the body.
- Failure to diagnose. This type of medical malpractice involves a provider’s complete failure to recognize and diagnose an existing case of cancer, causing it to go undetected until the patient seeks a second opinion or experiences severe or fatal complications.
- False diagnosis. Also called mistaken diagnosis, a false cancer diagnosis happens when a doctor diagnoses a patient with cancer when none is present. This can lead to unnecessary and harmful treatments and delay proper diagnosis and care for the underlying condition for which they sought medical attention.
Frequent causes of cancer misdiagnosis medical malpractice include diagnostic errors, such as misinterpreting a patient’s symptoms or test results, and errors in clinical judgment, like a failure or delay in ordering a test or obtaining a consult or referral.
What You Could Recover and What You Have to Prove in a Cancer Misdiagnosis Medical Malpractice Claim
Recovering compensation for cancer misdiagnosis requires plaintiffs (patients or certain surviving family members) to prove the following points or “elements”:
- A doctor-patient relationship existed between the misdiagnosed patient and the doctor (or other medical provider or facility) named as the defendant in the lawsuit.
- The doctor or provider failed to uphold the standard of care, meaning they made mistakes or errors that a similarly trained medical professional wouldn’t have made in the same situation.
- The doctor’s failure caused the patient to experience an adverse outcome, such as cancer metastasis or grueling and unnecessary cancer treatments.
- The patient suffered physical, financial, or emotional damages due to the provider’s negligence.
Proving these vital elements can be difficult. Don’t go it alone. Take advantage of our tenacious legal representation.
How Our Kansas City Cancer Misdiagnosis Lawyers Can Aid Your Recovery
Successfully navigating the complex and time-consuming civil litigation process to recover the compensation you deserve can be challenging. Fortunately, our caring and highly skilled medical malpractice attorneys can help. Here are just a few examples of what we can do to maximize the value of your claim and assist you in holding negligent health care providers accountable:
- Investigate your case
- Gather medical records and other essential evidence
- Interview witnesses
- Arrange for medical professionals and other experts to testify on your behalf
- Handle communications with insurance companies and defense attorneys
- Negotiate and evaluate settlement offers
- Prepare your case for trial
- And much more
Depending on the facts and evidence in your case, recoverable damages can include compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages and reduced earning capacity
- Out-of-pocket costs
- Pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional distress
- Reduced quality of life
- And other losses
If you lost a loved one due to a cancer misdiagnosis, your recovery may include funeral and burial expenses, lost income, and additional damages associated with their wrongful death.