Delay in Cancer Diagnosis Has Fatal ConsequencesMay 27, 2019
As patients, we put our trust in the hands of the medical professionals who are responsible for our care. What we sometimes forget is that doctors are human and make mistakes. Unfortunately, medical errors are responsible for more than 250,000 fatalities every year in the United States, according to a study by Johns Hopkins. A significant percentage of these deaths occur in patients who have cancer, but the health care professional failed to diagnose the disease. As a result, the cancer metastasized, making it much more difficult to treat. Many, if not all these deaths could have been prevented if the health care professional took the necessary steps to properly diagnose the condition.
Impact of a Delayed Diagnosis
A female patient scheduled a routine colonoscopy when she turned 50, based on the American Cancer Society’s guidelines, which recently changed their recommended baseline screening age from 50 to 45. The patient was told that a polyp had been detected during the exam, but that it was removed. She was not informed that the polyp was sent to pathology and that not only was the polyp cancerous, but the margins around the polyp were also positive for cancer. Unfortunately, the patient was never informed about the cancer, and was told that she did not need to be screened again for another three years. Approximately 15 months later, she began to experience loose stools, so she sought medical treatment. Because the cancer had 15 months to grow and spread, it had progressed from Stage I to Stage IV, and she passed away in less than two years.
Another patient noticed that a mole on her torso had changed in size and shape within a couple of months. A nurse practitioner performed a biopsy and sent it to pathology. No one contacted the patient to inform her that the mole was cancerous and that not all the cancer was removed. Within six months, the mole returned, looking worse than it did at her initial appointment. It was discovered that the pathology report was never sent to the patient’s family doctor. By the time the cancer was diagnosed, it had worsened, and the patient needed to undergo chemotherapy. In addition, 22 lymph nodes had to be surgically removed, which would not have been necessary if the cancer was diagnosed at the first biopsy.
To avoid these medical mistakes, it is important for patients to be vigilant about their health. It is highly recommended that patients get regular check-ups and follow up with important screenings or treatments. Always get a second opinion if cancer or any other health concern is suspected. Request a copy of your pathology report to share with the physician who is giving the second opinion.
Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Advocate for Victims of Medical Errors
If your health was compromised due to a medical error, you are urged to contact the Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton at your earliest convenience. We will determine who is responsible for the delayed diagnosis and secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve. Our dedicated and compassionate legal team will protect your rights every step of the way. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent medical malpractice victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.