There are few things in life that can cause as much concern, anxiety and even emotional distress as a health problem. And perhaps no health problem is as worrisome as cancer. Difficult to deal with even when diagnosed and treated at an early stage, the negative impact of cancer becomes much worse when the diagnosis has been delayed or missed altogether until it’s too late. If you believe this has happened to you or a loved one, it may be time to seek help from a failure to diagnose cancer lawyer in NJ.
A missed or delayed cancer diagnosis can result from any number of factors. Although there has been tremendous advancement in diagnostic and treatment methods, health care is still not an exact science. Every patient is different and each patient has a different set of circumstances, characteristics and other factors that impact both diagnosis and medical care. It should come as no surprise that the longer the duration of cancer symptoms, the worse the survival rate.
A failure to correctly diagnose cancer usually results from one or more of the following:
- Complete failure to identify the condition.
- Failure to recognize abnormal imaging or other test results.
- Lack of timely follow-up on abnormal testing results.
- Untimely completion of needle biopsy.
- Incorrectly ruling out a potential diagnosis based on incorrect test results or simply misreading them.
- A potentially correct diagnosis was identified but the physician neglected to order appropriate tests or seek the opinion of specialist(s) to test the viability of the diagnosis.
- Faulty diagnostic equipment.
- Human error such as contamination of test samples, corruption of data, improper procedure employed by a technician, among other things.
If you or a loved on is or has been the victim of a doctor’s diagnosis error, an attorney can help. A failure to diagnose cancer lawyer in NJ can help you pursue legal remedies to which you may be entitled if an incorrect, delayed or missed diagnosis has led to incorrect treatment, delayed treatment, or simply no treatment. Such a scenario may be a case of medical malpractice if you can prove the necessary facts. Simply demonstrating that a mistake in diagnosis occurred is not, however, in and of itself sufficient.
What factors need to exist?
In order to bring a successful medical malpractice action, a failure to diagnose cancer lawyer in NJ must also be able to establish the following:
- The existence of a doctor-patient relationship.
- The doctor (or other health care provider or facility) was negligent in some form.
- For example, did the doctor competently diagnose the condition?
- This can be determined by whether a reasonably skillful and competent doctor would have arrived at the same diagnosis under similar circumstances.
- For example, did the doctor competently diagnose the condition?
- Actual injury or harm occurred to the patient due to the doctor’s negligence in the diagnosis.
- In other words, did the lack of a correct or timely diagnosis result in a worsened condition (or even death) that might have been prevented by effective care and treatment?
But how can you really tell if these factors existed in your situation? You may not be able to, but a failure to diagnose cancer lawyer in NJ most likely can. There are certain signs that indicate that the diagnosis of your cancer or that of a loved one may have involved negligence. Here are 5 of the most common:
1. The condition initially diagnosed did not respond to treatment.
In medicine, it is often the case that if a treatment works the diagnosis was probably correct. While the opposite isn’t necessarily true, the fact that a certain medication or other method of treatment had no effect on the condition may be an indication that it may have been incorrectly diagnosed.
2. Despite treatment, the condition actually worsened.
Somewhat similar to number one, this shows not only that the treatment isn’t effective and, therefore, the diagnosis may have been incorrect but, worse yet, that the misdiagnosis has actually resulted in the cancer advancing because of ineffective treatment.
3. The doctor, other medical care provider or health care facility is hesitant, evasive or completely non-responsive to your questions or requests for additional information.
Any competent failure to diagnose cancer lawyer in NJ will caution you to be mindful if this happens because it may be a sign that there’s concern about some aspect of the diagnosis or treatment rendered (and maybe even both). If you perceive that your doctor is not being straight forward with you, he or she may be hiding something.
4. The information provided to you by a health care professional or facility does not make sense based on what you understand about your condition.
What at one time seemed fairly clear and straightforward now is confusing or seems completely different from what you’ve previously been told. This might be cause for alarm, of course. A sudden change in information or direction of treatment may be indicative that the initial diagnosis may not have been accurate and that an effort is now being made to rectify that error as quickly as possible, all without you noticing. Once you run this scenario past a failure to diagnose cancer lawyer in NJ, he or she will certainly have some advice on how to structure your future communications with the health care provider.
5. You are being asked to sign a release or other document you don’t fully understand.
Under no circumstances should you do so without first having the documents in question and all the facts surrounding your specific circumstances reviewed by a failure to diagnose cancer lawyer in NJ. The insurance company and/or an attorney representing the doctor or diagnostic technician or facility have reason to believe (and fear) that the cancer was misdiagnosed or diagnosed too late for effective treatment to be prescribed. If so, they will take whatever steps they can to have you sign away your rights to a claim, lawsuit or other potential remedy that might otherwise be available to you or your loved ones.
Cancer is a dreaded disease and there’s almost nothing positive associated with it. If you or a loved one are battling some form of cancer, the last thing you need to worry about is if the diagnosis was botched. A failure to diagnose cancer lawyer in NJ will be able to assist you in navigating what can be a complicated legal landscape made even more difficult by the extreme emotional burden cancer places on both the patient and his or her loved ones. An attorney experienced in handling such matters can relieve some of that burden, making it possible for the patient to focus on the tasks at hand, which are maintaining a strongly positive state of mind and participating fully in the treatment prescribed.