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Can You Sue for Misdiagnosis of Cancer?
Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be one of the most traumatic experiences a patient can encounter. In addition, cancer treatments are notoriously harsh and lead to painful side effects. After months of chemo and emotional trauma, learning that your doctor misdiagnosed your condition can add additional pain on top of your experience – and in California, you can pursue legal action against your doctor for the misdiagnosis.
Your Legal Options for Cancer Misdiagnosis
Depending on the circumstances of your diagnosis, you could file a medical malpractice lawsuit against your doctor for misdiagnosis of cancer. If your doctor breached the professional standard of care during misdiagnosis and you suffered losses as a result, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. Contact a Bakersfield medical malpractice attorney to discuss the facts of your case.
With a medical malpractice lawsuit, you can claim the following compensation for damages due to the misdiagnosis:
- Medical expenses incurred due to the false diagnosis
- Future medical expenses due to injuries incurred during the course of treatment
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Lost wages due to cancer treatment
- Punitive damages for reckless, intentional, or especially negligent behavior
How Do Doctors Misdiagnose Cancer?
With training and a proper educational background, you would think that doctors would be able to tell the difference between cancer and other medical conditions. However, many factors can lead to the misdiagnosis of cancer:
- Unqualified medical staff. When you receive a cancer-screening test, specialists interpret the findings. However, certain hospitals may assign a doctor who does not have a background in cancer screening to analyze the results. This act can lead to cancer misdiagnosis.
- Oversensitive or malfunctioning screening tools. Screening technology can make significant errors when reading cancer test samples. You may receive a false positive from this equipment and your doctor can misdiagnose you with cancer.
- Intentional misdiagnosis. While these cases are very rare, certain lawsuits have involved doctors who intentionally misdiagnosed patients with cancer. Usually, the motive for this act is financial. The more treatments a patient receives, the more money the doctor gets from the insurance companies.
Potential Injuries Suffered by Cancer Misdiagnosis
Although receiving word that you do not have cancer may be a relief for many people, you likely already suffered harm as a result of cancer treatment. In addition, you may have an underlying condition that worsened as a result of delayed treatment. You can suffer significantly painful side effects from unnecessary cancer treatments:
- Appetite loss
- Hair loss
- Loss of fertility and sexual function
- Nerve problems
- Lymphedema, or fluid buildup in the lymph nodes
- Anemia and fatigue
- Chronic pain
- Infection, including urinary and bladder problems
- Mouth and throat problems
- Skin and nail changes
- Delirium and confusion
- Nausea and vomiting
- Memory and concentration issues
- Constipation and diarrhea
Proving a Medical Malpractice Case in California
To prove a medical malpractice case in California, you will need to satisfy the following factors:
- Your attorney must prove that you and your doctor had an established doctor-patient relationship and therefore, your doctor owed you a standard of care.
- Your attorney must prove that your doctor breached this standard of care through misdiagnosis.
- Your attorney must prove that a similarly educated and trained doctor would not have made the same misdiagnosis in the same situation.
- Your attorney must prove that you suffered injuries because of the misdiagnosis.
- Your attorney must prove that your injuries led to losses, such as medical bills and pain and suffering.
Proving a case of medical malpractice can be difficult. Hiring a medical malpractice attorney is the key to proving these cases. Your attorney can consult with medical experts, gather necessary evidence, and craft a compelling case on your behalf. If you discover a cancer misdiagnosis and need compensation for your losses, contact a lawyer as soon as possible.