What if My Doctor Didn’t Diagnose My Cancer? | Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C.
legal blog

What If My Doctor Didn’t Diagnose My Cancer?

Written by Jared Staver

Read Jared's Bio

Jared Staver is a Personal Injury Lawyer based in Chicago, Illinois and has been practicing law for over 20 years.

Jared Staver

CATEGORY: Medical Malpractice

With almost all cancers, early detection is the key to minimally invasive and effective treatment. The sooner your physician notices the signs, tests you for cancer, and gives you a diagnosis, the sooner you can learn more about your options and make decisions regarding the care that you are most comfortable with. However, when physicians make serious mistakes or disregard symptoms of a greater issue like cancer, you pay the price. If there is a failure to diagnose your cancer and you eventually receive a late diagnosis, this may limit your treatments options, lead to more severe treatment, cause long-term complications, and increase the risk of death. Ultimately, a missed diagnosis causes you a great deal of pain and suffering.

If your doctor failed to diagnose your cancer due to providing negligent care, then you may have a valid medical malpractice claim. Contact a Chicago medical malpractice attorney of Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. at (312) 236-2900 to learn more today.

Determining If You Received Adequate Care

Some medical conditions, including certain types of cancer, can be difficult to diagnose. They remain silent for a long time or their symptoms resemble those of another illness. Your doctor will first assume that your symptoms are caused by a more ordinary and less deadly explanation. They would need enough evidence that costly and invasive tests were necessary and appropriate to diagnose you with cancer, yet often the beginning signs of cancer are not enough to warrant these tests. For example, consistent headaches can be a sign of medication overuse, allergies or sensitivities, and other treatable conditions. A lump may be a noncancerous cyst.

Cancer is rarely immediately apparent, and instead of diagnosed after a number of other illnesses are eliminated. This makes it extremely hard for doctors to determine you have cancer even when they provide excellent care.

Due to the complexities of the body, cancer, and providing medical care, a late or missed cancer diagnosis is not automatically grounds for a medical malpractice claim. However, if your doctor did not diagnose your cancer, it may be because you did not receive the care you deserved and the doctor was obligated to provide. If there is evidence that your physician failed to uphold the necessary standard of care and missed a diagnosis causing you additional injuries beyond the cancer, you should speak with a medical malpractice lawyer immediately.

Illinois’ Medical Standard of Care

When your doctor failed to determine that you had cancer, the most important question is whether or not your doctor gave you inadequate care. Illinois’ medical standard of care states your physician must possess and use the same degree of knowledge, skill, and care ordinarily used by a reasonably careful physician practicing the same discipline in similar circumstances. If your doctor failed to do something a reasonably careful practitioner in the same area of medicine would have done – or did something they would not have done – under similar circumstances, then your doctor may be negligent.

During a medical malpractice claim, your attorney will offer evidence of this standard of care, including how a reasonably careful physician would have acted in response to your symptoms or in reading the results of your tests. For instance, if you had been seeing a general practitioner, your lawyer will provide evidence of how other reasonably careful general practitioners would have responded in a similar situation. This may have included recommending you see a specialist. Your attorney will then demonstrate that your doctor failed to take those steps, resulting in a negligent failure to diagnose your cancer.

Common Failure to Diagnose Scenarios

There are multiple places in which a physician can provide negligent care and fail to find you have cancer. The first common scenario is your doctor not recognizing that your symptoms point to cancer. By not noticing all of the clues and their connections to cancer, your doctor may fail to order necessary tests that would offer a conclusive diagnosis.

The second scenario is your doctor ordering necessary tests yet reading the results incorrectly. For example, you may undergo an MRI that shows you have a tumor that needs to be biopsied. However, if your physician does not read the scan correctly, then you may be told you are fine despite the MRI showing a suspicious mass.

Did the Failure to Diagnose Your Cancer Harm You?

To bring a successful medical malpractice claim, your attorney will need to prove more than your doctor’s failure to diagnose. He or she must also show the court that this failure caused you an injury. The cancer is not the injury since your physician and their negligence did not cause it. However, the substandard care may have given your cancer time to metastasize or cause other physical or psychological complications. Your attorney must show that your doctor made the situation worse and had you been diagnosed sooner, these injuries would have been avoided.

Some injuries you may be able to prove include:

  • A more invasive or painful treatment than would have been necessary with an earlier diagnosis
  • More expensive treatments than would have been necessary
  • A greater likelihood of the cancer returning in the future
  • Complications from the cancer or necessary treatments that would not have occurred if there was an earlier diagnosis
  • A shorter estimated life span

Contact a Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyer for Help

Failure to diagnose is one of the most common types of medical malpractice; however, it is not necessarily easy to prove. If you believe you have suffered because your doctor missed your cancer or diagnosed you after months or years of treatment, call a medical malpractice attorney from Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. as soon as possible. If you were negligently cared for, you deserve to seek compensation for your injuries. At Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., we have years of experience handling medical malpractice suits and offer the resources you need to determine if you have a valid claim.

Call us today at (312) 236-2900 or contact us online to learn more during a free consultation.

Free Consultation
(312) 236-2900
(312) 236-2900
Skip to content