A breast cancer misdiagnosis does significant and often irreversible harm to patients. When that misdiagnosis is the result of medical malpractice, the medical malpractice attorneys of Cooper Schall & Levy can help.
How Is Breast Cancer Misdiagnosed?
Breast cancer ranks high on the list of diseases that women fear most. If you or a loved one have received the bad news of a diagnosis, you understand how urgent it is to treat breast cancer as early as possible. Far too many women, unfortunately, have lost precious time treating their cancers because of a misdiagnosis, or failure to diagnose. In other cases, women who had no breast cancer underwent painful and risky treatments because they were told they did.
A misdiagnosis can take several forms:
Mistaking your symptoms for something else. Many different medical conditions share symptoms with cancer, so it’s possible your doctor or healthcare professional believed your breast cancer was instead:
- Breast cysts
- A blocked milk duct
- Fibroadenomas – solid, non-cancerous breast lumps
- Lipomas – slow-growing, fatty lumps
- Pseudoangiomatous stromal hyperplasia (PASH), a type of non-cancerous breast lesion
Not diagnosing the symptoms as anything. Your doctor may not diagnose your cancer or mistake it for something else. This often happens because the doctor is unfamiliar with your particular symptoms and what they mean.
Delayed diagnosis. A doctor may initially misdiagnose your breast cancer, only to discover it later. But it doesn’t take much of a delay to allow the cancer to metastasize into a far deadlier form.
Diagnosing you for cancer when you were healthy. It may take months before the doctor tells you that your cancer turned out to be something benign (or nothing at all). During that time, however, you could undergo serious treatments that interrupt your life and put you at unnecessary risk.
Why Do Breast Cancer Misdiagnoses Happen?
From the time you see a doctor complaining of symptoms, to the day you receive the unpleasant news of a misdiagnosis, you might have seen several different healthcare professionals. With so many individuals involved in your health, the likelihood of an error increases. Breast cancer misdiagnoses occur for a variety of reasons:
- Failure to recognize or understand symptoms
- Lack of expertise with cancer
- Failure to refer the patient to a cancer specialist
- Failure to order appropriate testing or screening
- Failure to schedule follow-up appointments and reviews with the patient
- Not taking family history or risk factors into consideration
- Improperly reading mammogram and other test results
- Clerical errors, mixing up records, not communicating with the patient, and other mistakes
The Risk Of A Breast Cancer Misdiagnosis
Everyone understands the life and death nature of cancer. The very real risk of death is scary enough, but the consequences of failing to detect breast cancer go much further. You may go to the doctor with a low stage of breast cancer, but because it is missed, it is allowed to advance to more severe stages. Your treatment regimen might have been relatively mild, but because of the misdiagnosis you may now require painful, expensive, lengthy, and perhaps dangerous procedures.
Confusing benign symptoms for cancer can also cause significant problems for the patient. The healthcare professional, believing the patient has cancer, may subject her to costly, time-consuming, and possibly risky tests, surgeries, radiation, and more. A false cancer diagnosis may not have the same life-or-death consequences as simply missing the cancer entirely, but no healthy patient should have to undergo unnecessary treatments.
When Does Misdiagnosis Become Malpractice?
Not every breast cancer misdiagnosis is medical malpractice. Malpractice occurs when the misdiagnosis is the result of negligence, which can come in many forms. More specifically, that means the doctor or other medical professional deviated from the standard of care that a reasonable professional would have provided in the same or similar circumstances.
Having An Experienced Attorney Is Critical
Malpractice cases are not easy to win, and hiring the wrong attorney can seriously jeopardize your ability to recover. An experienced attorney not only understands Pennsylvania medical malpractice law, but does the necessary work to investigate how and why your misdiagnosis happened. This means interviewing you and examining the medical records surrounding your breast cancer.
An adept malpractice attorney also looks out for the client’s future medical needs. You may need long-term care to treat your breast cancer and any other complications stemming from the misdiagnosis.
When you work with Cooper Schall & Levy, we will assemble the strongest possible evidence to make the case for maximum compensation, either as part of a settlement or at trial. As a victim of malpractice, you may be entitled to such damages according to the MCARE statute as:
- Medical expenses for treating the cancer and treating any problems arising from the misdiagnosis
- Expenses related to medical treatments, including costly prescription medications
- Lost wages due to time missed from work in cases of hospitalization, medical appointments, and the like
- Lost earning capacity where the patient is unable to work at the same level as before the breast cancer misdiagnosis
- Pain and suffering and emotional distress due to the physical and mental turmoil experienced by the patient
- Wrongful death damages such as funeral expenses where the patient died because of the misdiagnosis
Contact Our Philadelphia Breast Cancer Misdiagnosis Attorney
Your case may be subject to time limitations, so speak with the experienced attorneys of Cooper Schall & Levy today. Our dedicated and compassionate attorneys will explain your legal rights and demand the compensation you deserve. Contact us to learn more.
Cooper Schall & Levy medical malpractice lawyers serve Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as well as neighboring counties such as Montgomery County and Delaware County and cover neighborhoods such as Norristown and Drexel Hill.