In February, the National Cancer Institute announced plans to revive the Cancer Moonshot Initiative, with the ambitious goal of cutting cancer deaths in half over the next 25 years. In recent years, scientists have also been working hard to develop new and less invasive blood tests for cancer. Despite these incredible advances, however, our Northern New Jersey cancer misdiagnosis attorneys continue to see many cases where colorectal cancers are not detected, causing delayed treatment and death.
At Buttafuoco & Associates, we firmly believe that providers must be held accountable for medical malpractice. In this article, I’ll discuss how to know if you have a failure to diagnose case and give you a few tips for communicating with your provider to cut your risk of being misdiagnosed.
Failure to Diagnose as Medical Malpractice
From a legal perspective, the failure to diagnose falls under medical malpractice. When you consult with a cancer misdiagnosis attorney about a potential medical malpractice case, there are several factors that they will be looking to establish whether you have a case.
First, the attorney will need to ensure that the doctor who failed to diagnose you was in fact treating you as a patient. In order to prove your case, a lawyer must also be able to establish that your misdiagnosis was a result of a medical provider’s negligence. Negligence can take many forms in medical malpractice cases, including failing to order the proper tests, misinterpreting the results, or misdiagnosing your colorectal cancer during a screening as something with similar symptoms, such as irritable bowel syndrome or hemorrhoids.
While these are sometimes simple mistakes that do not warrant a lawsuit, they rise to the level of negligence when the medical provider failed to provide a reasonable standard of care. In essence, they have met a reasonable standard of care if another medical provider would have likely provided the same treatment, testing, or diagnosis under the same conditions with the same information.
If a negligent failure to diagnose the colorectal cancer caused harm or injury to you as a patient, then you may have a case. At this point, your Northern New Jersey cancer misdiagnosis lawyer will work out the damages, or financial value of the results of the harm. In this type of case, damages may include medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
Understanding Delayed Diagnosis
Even if a medical professional catches your colorectal cancer, if they could have detected and diagnosed the disease earlier, you may still have a legal case.
As mentioned above, failure to diagnose allows the disease to progress to a later stage, and the cancer can go from being readily treatable to extremely deadly. Furthermore, the treatments for later stages of cancer like chemotherapy are far more expensive and have their own risks, so delayed diagnosis can result in exorbitant medical and financial risks. To protect yourself, contacting a cancer misdiagnosis lawyer serving Northern New Jersey could be in your best interests.
Communication is Key
According to an article appearing in the journal Patient Education and Counseling, several communication factors can lead to misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of colorectal cancer. The study detailed two major factors in patient-doctor communication:
Socioeconomic Status and Background of the Patient: The study found that the patient’s level of education, level of health literacy, and attitudes toward physicians and the medical system often affected communication with healthcare providers. This often led to patients with less education or from disadvantaged socioeconomic groups to have a statistically poorer prognosis.
Communication Style of the Physician: The study also found that doctors who use a collaborative approach or make personal connections with patients often see better outcomes in their colorectal cancer patients. This approach allows for more open communication, allowing patients to share in greater detail and ask relevant questions to help physicians understand the symptoms properly.
It could be worth keeping these factors in mind when you talk to your doctor. Strive to communicate as clearly and openly as possible, including asking pertinent questions. If you feel that your doctor isn’t listening or prioritizing your needs, don’t hesitate to ask for second opinion. Taking these steps may help reduce your risk of misdiagnosis.
That said, a provider’s negligence should never be ignored when it comes to a serious illness. If you have been wrongly diagnosed or a medical professional has failed to diagnose your colon cancer, get in touch with a cancer misdiagnosis lawyer in Northern New Jersey right away.
Call Buttafuoco & Associates at 1-800-NOW-HURT.