Delayed Diagnosis of Cancer

Choose An Experienced Massachusetts Medical Malpractice Lawyer

More than 12% of cancer cases are initially misdiagnosed. This often leads to seriously delayed diagnosis of cancer, which can sometimes cause treatable cancers to become harder to treat or completely untreatable. This may lead to serious complications, disfigurement, and wrongful death. Like any medical malpractice claim, delayed diagnosis of cancer cases require a sophisticated team of legal professionals who have experience working closely with medical specialists. The attorneys at Breakstone, White & Gluck, P.C. of Boston have long been recognized as leaders in Massachusetts in the field of medical malpractice, specifically in delayed cancer diagnosis cases.

Delayed diagnosis cases can be extremely complex. Doctors defending delayed diagnosis cases will claim that they were not negligent. They may also claim that earlier diagnosis and treatment would not have made a difference. That is why we have established a network of medical experts who can work with us throughout the handling of your case to get the best results for you.

Factors Leading to Delayed Diagnosis of Cancer

Delayed diagnosis of cancer can stem from a variety of negligent actions:

  • Failure to perform a diagnostic test when one is needed
  • Misinterpreted test results
  • Inability to recognize a tumor
  • Procedure performed incorrectly
  • Malfunction of technology
  • Lost or switched lab results
  • Misread x-rays
  • Failure to refer patient to correct specialist

Possible Liable Parties

Most often a claim will be brought up against the medical professional whose negligence delayed the diagnosis. These parties may include the general practitioner, who may have elected not to perform a diagnostic test or issue a referral, the radiologist, who misinterpreted the x-rays, a surgeon, who did not remove a tumor properly or did not notice suspicious tissue and refer the patient to a specialist, or other specialists who may have had contact with the patient. In some cases, manufacturers of malfunctioning technology may also be liable.

What to Do When You Have Been Affected by Delayed Diagnosis of Cancer

There are several important steps you can take once you have been diagnosed with cancer and believe it should have been diagnosed earlier:

  • Most important, contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney to discuss your case. Your attorney will guide you through the entire process, but it is best to begin the legal process as soon as possible to preserve the testimony of all parties.
  • Work with your attorney to promptly gather relevant medical records.
  • Keep records of appointments, events, and bills. Collect any paperwork such as receipts and test results.


Delayed Diagnosis of Cancer Case Reports

Here are some examples of cases we have handled involving delayed diagnosis of cancer.

Failure to Prevent Ovarian Cancer. The plaintiff came from a family with a strong history of ovarian cancer, and sought to have her ovaries removed to prevent the possibility of getting the cancer. The doctor dissuaded her. Plaintiff developed symptoms consistent with cancer, and the defendant diagnosed advanced ovarian cancer which would have been prevented with the treatment the plaintiff had requested. The matter was brought to resolution before the plaintiff died, and the plaintiffs were awarded damages for her pain and suffering, as well as damages in anticipation of the pending wrongful death. Result: $3,000,000 award.

Failure to Diagnose Breast Cancer. Plaintiff had a mammogram which was highly suspicious for cancer. The surgeon performing the biopsy failed to remove the suspicious lump, and missed the diagnosis of the cancer. He reassured the plaintiff that she had no cancer. A year later further testing revealed the cancer was still present, and had spread throughout her body, making the cancer untreatable. The doctor attempted to cover his tracks by altering his medical records, but his deceit was revealed during the discovery phase of the case. Result: $1,900,000 settlement.

An Overview of Massachusetts Medical Malpractice Law

To learn more about Massachusetts laws regarding medical malpractice, which includes the delayed diagnosis of cancer, visit our Summary of Massachusetts Medical Malpractice Law page. This summary will help you understand the basics, but only an experienced malpractice attorney can offer you in-depth legal advice as it pertains to your specific case.

Choose An Experienced Massachusetts Medical Malpractice Attorney for Your Delayed Diagnosis of Cancer Claim

Medical malpractice cases are complex and difficult, and often take a long time to resolve due to the complexity of the litigation involved. It is important to choose a malpractice lawyer carefully to get the best results on your case. Our page on Personal Injury Caused by Medical Malpractice may answer more of your questions. Our Choosing a Lawyer page answers many questions you may have about choosing a Massachusetts medical malpractice attorney for your case.

Our Case Reports page describes many of the medical malpractice personal injury cases we have successfully handled on behalf of our clients.

If you feel you have a medical malpractice case, it is vital that you act immediately to protect your rights, as Massachusetts has strict statutes of limitations for medical malpractice cases. Please call us at 617-723-7676, or toll free at 1-800-379-1244, or use our contact form. We look forward to helping you.

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