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Delayed Diagnosis And Misdiagnosis of Cancer And Medical Malpractice

Mar 28, 2018 | Failure to Diagnose

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A recent study published in the BMJ Quality and Safety journal stated that approximately 12 million patients care in the United States who seek outpatient care are misdiagnosed year after year. This figure amounts to 1 out of 20 adult patients, and according to researchers, in 50% of those cases, the misdiagnosis can potentially lead to severe harm.

In another study, it was found that over 20% of patients who sought a second opinion at one of the premier medical institutions in the country had been misdiagnosed by their primary care providers. 12% of the people who went to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota to ask specialists to review their cases were given correct diagnoses.

In 2015, a report released by National Academy of Medicine, a majority of the population receive a wrong or late diagnosis at least once in their lives – in several cases, this leads to serious consequences.

Delayed or Incorrect Cancer Diagnosis

Unfortunately, misdiagnosis of cancer continues to be an alarmingly common problem in the US Regardless of stage, cancer misdiagnosis can be a very traumatic experience for those who go through it, their family as well as other loved ones.

With all of the advancements made in the world of medicine and technology in recent years, the shockingly high rate of misdiagnosis of cancer raises substantial concern, especially since early diagnosis is a critical component for survival from the deadly disease.

If cancer is not diagnosed during its early stages, the chances of the individual making a full recovery is significantly lowered in the majority of cases. Even those who are diagnosed with cancer, only to find out later that medical professionals made an error during testing or biopsy review, can be left with devastating consequences, physically, emotionally, and financially.

Commonly Misdiagnosed Cancers

There are certain types of cancer that are more commonly misdiagnosed compared to others. Lymphoma is believed to be the most commonly misdiagnosed type of cancer, followed by breast cancer, sarcomas, melanoma as well as cancer that affects an unknown primary site. The top 10 cancers that are believed to be misdiagnosed most often are:

· Lymphoma

· Breast cancer

· Sarcomas

· Melanoma

· Unknown primary site

· Central nervous system or brain cancer

· Lung cancer

· Prostate cancer

· Ovarian

· Pancreatic

The most common reasons why health care professionals believe there are misdiagnosis and errors in interpreting pathology specimens are as follows:

· Lack of expertise in the subspecialty area – 47%

· Inadequate lesion sampling – 39%

· Providing inadequate clinical information – 7.3%

· Failure to properly perform special stains – 5.3%

· Poor or inadequate slide preparation – 1.5%

Many doctors believe that new or improved pathology tools and resources would have the most significant impact on the rates of accurate cancer diagnosis. They say that with new tools, fewer errors would occur and diagnosis of cancer would be more accurate.

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Lawsuit Filed for Misdiagnosis Resulting in Organ Removal

A woman from Kansas filed a lawsuit alleging that a misdiagnosis resulted in an unnecessary surgery performed by doctors to remove parts of her organs and a cover-up of the incorrect diagnosis, which she had no knowledge of until a whistleblower lawsuit was filed by a doctor at the hospital over her case.

46-year-old Wendy Ann Noon Berner accused the University of Kansas Hospital as well as the pathology department’s now-former chairwoman of fraud, negligence and civil conspiracy.

Berner was misdiagnosed as having a tumor in the pancreatic neuroendocrine, which in most cases is fatal within 5 years. She underwent a surgery in September of 2015 to remove part of the pancreas and a number of other body parts.

In her lawsuit, she alleged that she came to know of the problem only after a pathologist and one-time chairman of the pathology department, Dr. Lowell Tilzer filed a lawsuit over a year ago claiming that there was a retaliation by the hospital against him when he discussed the case with the Joint Commission, an agency responsible for accrediting and certifying hospitals. Now semi-retired, Tilzer later dropped his lawsuit.

Filed in Wyandotte County District Court, Berner’s lawsuit revealed that Tilzer’s allegations were investigated by federal regulators. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services made a report that concluded that the deficient practices in the hospital placed all patients who were receiving services at risk for receiving care that does not meet acceptable standards and quality.

This misdiagnosis was discovered when she underwent the surgery and other members of the pathology department at the hospital, examined sample tissues from her pancreas and established that the organ was not really cancerous. A pathologist from outside the hospital also reached the same conclusion, as per the lawsuit.

The lawsuit accused the pathology department’s leader at the time, Dr. Meenakshi Singh of making the misdiagnosis and then taking steps in order to cover up the error.

Dr. Singh remains on the staff at the hospital, but lost her position as chairwoman of the pathology department. The defendants named in the lawsuit are Dr. Singh, Dr. Timothy M. Schmitt, the hospital, the University of Kansas Medical Center as well as the University of Kansas Physicians, who are responsible for employing physicians who practice at the medical center.

What to Do to Reduce Risk of Cancer Misdiagnosis

While you should be able to trust your doctor to give you competent medical care, it is important that you play an active role in your own treatment. Here are some things you can do to lower risk of receiving a cancer misdiagnosis:

· Make sure that all your of your medical records are reviewed by the oncology specialist you are going to see.

· Even if you trust your doctor and the diagnosis given to you, you should request a second opinion.

· Make a list of every symptom you have experienced so you can give your doctor the information required to make an informed decision on whether you should get further testing or a biopsy done.

· Make sure that you are specific about your symptoms.

· Give your doctor a list of all the medications you are currently taking and any changes that could be the cause of the symptoms you are experiencing.

· Ask your doctor a lot of questions, including what to expect.

· If you have any concerns, make sure that your doctor addresses each of them in full.

Most importantly, do not wait. If you are experiencing medical difficulties or have symptoms of cancer, schedule an appointment to get tested immediately.

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If you are mistreated you need to call us RMFW Law. We know this legal domain. It does not matter how right you believe you are if we cannot obtain another medical professional to support your claim then you don’t have a claim. No worries, we know professionals up and down in the medical field to contact to see if your claim is valid. But it is up to them to support your claim.

RMFW Law has won big money in these types of lawsuits. We have a long line of satisfied clients – you too can be on this list. If you have been mistreated there is no reason to scream at the medical personnel. Most likely it is not their fault, the person who is at fault has probably been reassigned and is no longer working on your loved one anymore.

This is now a legal matter.

Woman Sues for Disfiguring Surgery After Cancer Misdiagnosis

A woman from Harlem was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer and went through a disfiguring surgical procedure to remove her left breast and also went through additional procedures to manage complications – all this before finding out that she never had cancer in the first place.

51-year-old Eduvigis Rodriguez’s nightmare began after feeling a lump in her breast and went to Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital to get a biopsy done. According to the medical malpractice lawsuit that she filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, it turned out that she had a condition called sclerosing adenosis – an extra growth of benign tissue in the breast lobules – but Dr. Jean-Marc Cohen, the hospital pathologist, misinterpreted her biopsy results.

The suit said that Cohen mistakenly determined Rodriguez had the most common form of breast cancer, infiltrating ductal carcinoma. She was then sent to Lenox Hill Hospital for surgery, where the error was only compounded.

Since 2012, Lenox Hill had a procedure in place requiring all pathology reports from other institutions to be reviewed by its own medical staff before they authorize a major surgery, like a mastectomy. According to court papers, such a review allegedly never happened.

However, Dr. Magdi Bebawi, Rodriguez’s surgeon, still signed a Lenox Hill form that the procedure was performed. The form said that the surgeon certified that the hospital’s pathology department had reviewed outside pathology slides. Court documents said that the mastectomy was performed in April 2015 by Bebawi.

The mistake was discovered only when Lenox Hill pathologists were performing routine post-surgery testing on the removed breast tissue and found no cancer in it.

The court papers showed that doctors from Lenox Hill then secured samples from Rodriguez’s original biopsy from Beth Israel and concluded that benign breast tissue was shown in both. Even more testing was done on the biopsied breast sample by Cohen and he came to the same conclusion.

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When Rodriguez was finally told about the horrible mistake, she said that she was shocked and that she wanted explanations and justice. Already scarred physically and emotionally, she later underwent reconstructive breast surgery.

Court records showed that Rodriguez eventually suffered blood clots in her lungs, or a pulmonary embolism, and a surgical hernia that required additional surgeries to be performed on her.

Costs and Complications of Cancer Misdiagnosis

When cancer is inaccurately diagnosed, it can lead to a number of health issues, including unnecessary complications and side effects. These in turn can result in financial hardships for patients who were misdiagnosed as they pursue treatments that may not be effective or even necessary.

By filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, patients and their families may be able to recover some of the costs related to the misdiagnosis of cancer. Some of the types of costs that they may be awarded as part of a medical malpractice verdict include:

· Economic damages such as medical bills, cancer treatment costs, loss of income, transportation to and from medical centers, as well as future costs and losses that result from their illness.

· Noneconomic damages such as disfigurement, disability, pain and suffering, loss of companionship/consortium, and other costs that do not have a strict monetary value.

The exact type of damages you can receive from a medical malpractice lawsuit varies from one state to another. For this reason, it is important to consult a lawyer with experience in medical negligence cases as they will be able to help you understand and determine your eligibility for compensation.

Hiring an Attorney for Cancer Misdiagnosis Lawsuit

Any medical malpractice case is more complex than other personal injury cases. There are many documents that need to be reviewed to determine if there was indeed negligence on the part of the medical professional or hospital.

These cases also require experts to review the medical records to find out if there was any error. Once the lawsuit is filed, the expert witnesses will need to testify on the plaintiff’s behalf to show that the medical professional did not provide the accepted medical standard of care that a competent doctor would have under the same circumstances.

It is critical to hire an experienced medical malpractice attorney when you have a misdiagnosed cancer case. Apart from their skill and knowledge, they need to have the resources to investigate your case and obtain medical experts to review the case and testify in court if the medical malpractice claim goes to court.

Keep in mind that the entire process can take a very long time, in some cases, even years. You should hire a legal pro you can trust to handle every aspect of your case diligently and make sure that you get justice for the injuries and complications you suffered due to cancer misdiagnosis.

Get Legal Expertise for Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Involving Cancer Misdiagnosis

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If you or a loved one has been inaccurately diagnosed with cancer and suffered harm as a result of that misdiagnosis, you should immediately seek the help of a trusted and dignified medical malpractice attorney at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff, & Wolff, of RMFW Law at 212 697 9280.

RMFW Law will offer a free evaluation of your case and review your evidence to determine if your case is viable. If you do, we will take the steps to initiate a medical malpractice claim against the negligent party and as said before, we will try to find a medical professional to back up your claim.

Your medical malpractice lawyer at RMFW Law will make sure that your rights are protected and will take the necessary action to ensure that you receive compensation for your injuries and other damages. You can recover the damages that you are entitled to by law and also make sure that the negligent party does not cause similar harm to other patients.

Call us today!