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How Often Is Cancer Misdiagnosed in Idaho? An Attorney Discusses

Idaho medical malpractice attorneyStudies by the National Coalition on Health Care estimate that cancer misdiagnoses are made anywhere from 15 percent to 28 percent of the time. That’s a lot of patients sent down the wrong path, considering that 1.7 million people are expected to receive a cancer diagnosis this year.

Lymphomas are cancers with the highest rate of misdiagnoses, followed by breast cancers and sarcomas. When cancer is misdiagnosed, a patient is given the wrong treatment – or no treatment at all.

Any cancer diagnosis is hard – among the worst times in anyone’s life. But to find out a diagnosis could have been made sooner (a delayed diagnosis) and improve the chances of recovery is particularly terrible and sometimes catastrophic news.

Misdiagnoses can lead to painful, debilitating and unnecessary treatments including chemotherapy and radiation. These procedures can cause further complications when not used appropriately.

Cancer misdiagnoses happen because of mistakes

Doctors make mistakes. Technicians who read tests, including x-rays, scans, or slides, do as well. But medical providers should also have policies and best practices in place to mitigate the impact of those mistakes. A review of medical records may reveal that there was evidence of cancer in earlier tests that should have been caught. These errors also may be considered cancer misdiagnoses.

Misdiagnoses may also involve:

  • Failure to recognize common symptoms of cancer.
  • Failure to identify an obvious lump during a breast examination.
  • Failure to order appropriate tests, including x-rays, MRIs, and CT scans.
  • Failure to order a biopsy or screen for a specific medical condition.
  • Misdiagnosing a tumor as benign.
  • Failure to refer a patient to a specialist.
  • Not following up with the patient or with test results.

What to do if you have been misdiagnosed

When it comes to medical malpractice lawsuits, plaintiffs and patients need to follow the same steps for proof as with any other case. They must show that in failing to accurately diagnose a serious health condition, the doctor failed to demonstrate the skill level that a similarly trained and experienced physician would have displayed under the same circumstances.

Attorney Joseph F. Brown of Boise, Idaho is uniquely qualified for taking on malpractice cases like these. In addition to being a lawyer, he’s a physician. He knows where to look for evidence of medical malpractice and how to build strong legal cases. Contact him today to learn how he can help you.

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