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Leukemia Misdiagnosis & Medical Malpractice

For many, there’s a lot of anxiety surrounding healthcare. The fear of the unknown causes many people to avoid the doctor altogether. What if the doctor diagnoses me with a serious illness? Or what happens if a doctor incorrectly diagnoses me? Though an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, sometimes these fears are founded. Sometimes mistakes happen, like a leukemia misdiagnosis. Janice Johnston is all too familiar as she was the victim of blood cancer misdiagnosis..

In 2017, Johnston was told she had a rare form of blood cancer. And immediately, a vigorous 18-month course of oral chemotherapy begun. She experienced weight loss, bone pain, and nausea. She also had to quit her job to avoid catching infections.

After living with fear, pain, and anxiety, Janice sought alternative treatment at another facility. That’s where a specialist told her she didn’t have blood cancer. Although her family was relieved, the leukemia misdiagnosis cost Janice a lot. Her time, her well-being, and quality of life. She filed (and won) a misdiagnosis lawsuit. To read Janice’s full story, click here.

Learning you have a serious condition is very difficult to cope with. But believing you have an illness when you don’t also takes a toll. If you or a loved one fell victim to a leukemia misdiagnosis, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the experts at Hampton & King to learn more about your options. 

Little boy with leukemia plays in hospital bed.

The 411 On Leukemia

Leukemia is a cancer of blood-forming tissues. This includes bone marrow. A healthy body produces blood cells at a normal pace. In a patient with leukemia, the blood cells are mutated and grow at a much more rapid pace. 

There are many types of leukemia. Furthermore, leukemia can be acute or chronic. In other words, some forms of leukemia are slow-growing (chronic) while others are more aggressive and progress faster (acute). Without proper treatment, acute leukemia can quickly lead to death. This is why it’s so important to properly diagnose leukemia. Or any type of cancer, for that matter.

While chronic leukemia progresses slowly, it’s still important to get a proper, timely diagnosis. It can help get you treatment quicker and prolong your life. 

Treatment Of Leukemia

The type of leukemia treatment a patient receives depends on many different factors. Doctor will take into consideration the patient’s age, overall health, the type of leukemia, as well as the severity. If a doctor is able to make an accurate diagnosis, treatment to fight leukemia should begin right away. Common treatments include:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Targeted therapy
  • Bone marrow transplant
  • Radiation therapy
  • Immunotherapy

But when a leukemia misdiagnosis occurs, a patient is unable to start treatment. This worsens the odds of survival. Even if the condition is diagnosed later, it may be too late for a more positive outcome. On the other hand, if leukemia is diagnosed when it’s actually absent, a patient might receive painful and unnecessary treatment.

How A Leukemia Misdiagnosis Can Occur

Many serious illnesses aren’t easy to detect right away. They require lots of screenings and testing. Physicians sometimes misdiagnose leukemia because signs and symptoms may not exist until the disease has progressed. When patients come in complaining of symptoms associated with leukemia, doctors may believe it’s something else altogether. This is because leukemia shares symptoms with many other conditions and illnesses. 

Leukemia is sometimes misdiagnosed as:

  • Fever
  • Influenza
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Trypanosomiasis
  • Immune thrombocytopenic purpura
  • Pathological fracture
  • Autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome

It’s easy to see how leukemia might be misdiagnosed. But that doesn’t mean it’s okay. It is the physician’s responsibility to screen and test for leukemia if any common symptoms are present. Taking a thorough patient history is also important in avoiding a leukemia misdiagnosis. 

Other proactive things a physician can do to rule out leukemia include:

  • Blood test – this gives insight to how many white blood cells there are versus red blood cells. A blood test can also show how many platelets exist.
  • Bone marrow test – this test can give a more thorough look into the existence of leukemia. Doctors are able to observe bone marrow cells and see if any abnormalities are present.
Filing a leukemia misdiagnosis lawsuit.

Knowing Your Rights After A Leukemia Misdiagnosis

Being told you have leukemia and undergoing unnecessary treatment is not okay. Likewise, a doctor’s failure to diagnose your leukemia can have serious and even fatal results. We understand the toll a leukemia misdiagnosis can have on you, your health, and your loved ones. The financial burden, as well as the pain and suffering victims experience is unimaginable Please reach out to us if you’re in this situation. We can help you navigate a possible leukemia misdiagnosis lawsuit.