As many Floridians know, cancer is a terrible, life-altering, and sometimes life-ending, disease. Advances in cancer diagnosis and treatment have helped render the disease treatable and curable in some instances, but early detection is often key. In order to detect cancer, a patient must be aware of any symptoms they may be experiencing, seek medical evaluation in a timely fashion, and submit to the appropriate tests. Yet, even when this is done, medical negligence may lead to a failure to diagnose, which could, in turn, lead to a worsened medical condition.
Lung cancer is one of those diseases that can be treated relatively effectively if diagnosed in its early stages. In an attempt to do this, doctors may take an x-ray of a patient’s lungs to look for abnormal masses, and a CT scan might reveal lesions on the lungs. A sputum cytology may be appropriate if a patient is coughing and producing sputum. This test examines the sputum for cancer cells. A biopsy may also help determine whether abnormal cells are cancerous.
Conducting these tests and interpreting their results requires diligence, medical knowledge, and skill, all of which should be possessed by the doctor at hand. However, doctors make mistakes, whether because they are fatigued, inattentive, or simply lack the requisite knowledge. When this happens, an individual’s chances of survival can decrease, throwing them and their family into an emotional and financial tailspin.
In an attempt to find accountability and financial stability, those who have suffered from a missed diagnosis can file a medical malpractice lawsuit against their doctor and the hospital where the doctor works. If a lawsuit is successful, compensation may be awarded for the victim’s losses, which may include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. It is also hoped that such legal action will raise awareness of the dangers of failing to diagnose cancer and will spur medical professionals to be more thorough and accurate in their work.
Source: Mayo Clinic, “Lung cancer,” accessed on Dec. 4, 2015