Being told you have cancer is some of the worst news a patient can ever receive from their doctor. However, the sooner a person receives a cancer diagnosis, the sooner they can begin an aggressive treatment plan and try to beat it. When a doctor fails to make a timely diagnosis, the cancer is allowed to grow and spread unchecked, reducing a patient’s chance of survival.
How Cancer Misdiagnosis Happens
There are several reasons a cancer misdiagnosis can occur, including:
- Failure to perform a timely test
- Failure to perform all necessary tests
- Misreading or misinterpretation of results
- Failure to listen to patients’ complaints
To bring a successful claim for medical malpractice the following elements must be established:
- The doctor owed a “duty of care” to the patient, meaning they had a doctor-patient relationship
- The doctor breached his or her duty by failing to provide reasonably competent medical care
- The patient suffered some type of injury or harm as a direct result of the doctor’s breach of duty
A missed diagnosis is only considered medical malpractice if the doctor failed to meet the prevailing standard of care within his or her specialty. Thus, it must be shown that the doctor acted in a way that most similar medical professionals with similar training and experience would not have acted.
If your doctor failed to timely diagnose your cancer, an Arizona medical malpractice attorney may be able to help you get compensation.