Florida Cancer Misdiagnosis Medical Malpractice Attorneys
Helping People Harmed by Cancer Misdiagnosis in Florida
According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s report on Improving Diagnosis in Health Care, diagnostic errors harm an “unacceptable number of patients,” sometimes with “devastating consequences.” Millions of patients in the U.S. suffer each year from these consequences, which include not receiving appropriate treatment for serious medical conditions, receiving unnecessary or harmful treatment and experiencing psychological and financial problems.
One of the most egregious diagnostic errors is the misdiagnosis of cancer. When a doctor does not diagnose cancer at an early stage, the risk to your health increases dramatically and you are more likely to face serious complications or life-threatening health concerns. Without an early diagnosis and treatment, cancer can progress and metastasize, making effective treatment more difficult and the prognosis less favorable. In some cases, a delay in the diagnosis of cancer results in the death of a loved one.
The Florida medical malpractice attorneys at Paul Knopf Bigger are committed to holding the negligent doctors who misdiagnose cancer accountable for the harm they inflict on their patients and their families. Through the years, we have litigated numerous misdiagnosis cases and have achieved many verdicts and settlements in excess of $10 million for the seriously injured victims and families whom we have had the privilege of representing. We welcome the opportunity to talk with you about a potential Florida medical malpractice claim for cancer misdiagnosis and answer any questions you might have.
Types of Cancer Most Commonly Misdiagnosed
Any type of cancer can be misdiagnosed if a physician does not conduct a complete physical exam, order appropriate diagnostic tests, examine test results or follow up with a patient. However, the most common types of cancer misdiagnosis include:
- Lung Cancer – The symptoms of lung cancer can vary, depending on a person’s overall health and how far the disease has progressed; however, early symptoms usually include wheezing and coughing. If doctors are not persistent in looking for the cause of the problem, they might conclude their patient has a bronchial infection, asthma, the flu or the common cold. Such a misdiagnosis could lead to a potentially harmful delay in treatment.
- Colorectal Cancer – The symptoms of colorectal cancer include persistent diarrhea or constipation, abdominal discomfort, fatigue and rectal bleeding. Patients exhibiting these symptoms are often misdiagnosed as having irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease or colitis. Unfortunately, when the cancer isn’t diagnosed and treated early, treatment is more difficult and recovery more challenging.
- Breast Cancer – Although breast mammograms, ultrasounds and MRIs have improved breast cancer diagnosis, errors still occur in analyzing the diagnostic images and following up with appropriate recommendations for patients. If breast cancer is not diagnosed early, more invasive, dangerous treatments might be necessary.
- Pancreatic Cancer – People with pancreatic cancer may experience abdominal pain, back pain, bloating, and nausea before they have exhibit other less common symptoms. Doctors may mistakenly diagnose their condition as irritable bowel syndrome, gallstones or pancreatitis.
- Prostate Cancer – Prostrate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer and may require minimal treatment. However, if it is aggressive and not diagnosed early, treatment can be difficult. If the cancer spreads to the bladder or other organs, curing it may not be possible.
- Cancerous Brain Tumors – Brain tumors can cause many different types of symptoms, depending on the tumor’s size, location and rate of growth. In general, symptoms may include frequent, severe headaches, nausea, vision problems, balance problems, speech problems, confusion, and behavior changes. If these symptoms are viewed as signs of aging, psychological problems or diagnosed as some other common condition, the tumor will grow, impacting brain functions further and dimming the patient’s chances for successful treatment.
How Cancer Misdiagnosis Occurs
Some delayed and incorrect diagnoses are due to unspecified symptoms, such as abdominal pain or bloating, but others are due to negligence and error on the part of primary care physicians, oncologists, radiologists and other specialists. Possible instances of negligence and errors that can result in a cancer misdiagnosis include a physician’s failure to:
- Take a complete, accurate medical history
- Collect specific genetic information about the patient
- Take early warning signs seriously
- Spend adequate time analyzing symptoms
- Consider the possibility of cancer because of specific factors, such as age
- Communicate medical information correctly
- Order relevant, appropriate tests to detect the cancer
- Interpret test results accurately
- Refer a patient to an appropriate, experienced specialist
While not apparent to a patient, a misdiagnosis could also occur because of an inaccurate interpretation of pathology samples due to a pathologist’s lack of expertise or negligence. In this case or in any case of cancer misdiagnosis, an experienced Florida medical malpractice attorney from Paul Knopf Bigger can help you obtain your medical records and consult with qualified specialty experts to determine what caused your misdiagnosis.
Florida Cancer Misdiagnosis Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
According to section 766.102 of the Florida Statutes, a valid medical malpractice claim must prove that the alleged negligent actions of the healthcare provider in question were a breach of the prevailing professional standard of care for a provider in a particular area of healthcare. That is, when a doctor is negligent and fails to act as a reasonably prudent physician practicing in the same specialty would act, given the same set of circumstances, and that negligence causes a patient to suffer serious injury or wrongful death, he may be held liable for medical malpractice, and the injured party or survivors of a fatally injured victim may recover damages.
In regard to a cancer misdiagnosis, if a physician failed to diagnose or misdiagnosed cancer when other physicians practicing in the same area of medicine would have correctly diagnosed it, you may have grounds for a Florida medical malpractice lawsuit. In these cases, it is true that the doctor did not cause the cancer; however, if his negligence or error, led to a late (or no) cancer diagnosis and failure to treat the cancer, which ultimately led to the need for life-altering treatment, pain, suffering and possibly even death, then he should be held liable for negligence.
With help from the Florida medical malpractice attorneys at Paul Knopf Bigger, you can hold the doctor accountable for his negligence and obtain the substantial compensation you deserve for medical expenses, lost wages, pain, suffering and other damages recoverable under Florida law.
Statute of Limitations for Florida Medical Malpractice Cases
Florida has a statute of limitations of two years for medical malpractice cases. In other words, a claim of medical malpractice has to be initiated within two years of the date the malpractice occurred, was discovered or should have been discovered. The latest date allowed for the discovery of malpractice is four years from the date the negligent incident occurred.
People who have been harmed because a physician misdiagnosed cancer should not procrastinate contacting an established Florida medical malpractice attorney. Preparing to file a medical malpractice claim takes a significant amount of time, since Florida law requires a thorough presuit investigation as part of the mandatory notice of intent to initiate litigation. The notice of intent is intended to ensure a claim is not frivolous and must comply with specific requirements, including a review of the claim and a verified written medical expert opinion.
Proven and Trusted Florida Cancer Misdiagnosis Medical Malpractice Attorneys
Medical malpractice cases are usually complex and demanding, requiring the knowledge, skill and resources of accomplished trial attorneys like those at Paul Knopf Bigger. Our experienced attorneys have a long record of achievements, including many multi-million-dollar settlements and awards, and are committed to using our exceptional knowledge and skills to passionately pursue justice and achieve the substantial compensation you deserve.
Paul Knopf Bigger is the Florida medical malpractice law firm lawyers throughout the state and across the country trust to successfully handle their clients’ complex medical malpractice claims. If you or a family member has suffered due to a cancer misdiagnosis, we are the law firm you can trust to provide superior representation, excellent personal attention and rewarding results.
Please call us at 800-673-9585 or submit the “Free Case Evaluation” form on our website to discuss your case with an experienced Florida medical malpractice attorney you can trust for excellence in the pursuit of justice.