Kim Johnson went out to dinner with her family to celebrate the letter she got in the mail earlier that day. What did the letter say? Her screening from the radiology lab showed “no evidence of cancer.” It was a weight lifted off her shoulders.
Kim’s mother died of breast cancer years earlier. It was slow, agonizing, and absolutely devastating. Kim feared she might have the same fate, and her family would have to go through the same emotional toll. But all that was behind her now. The doctors said so. The letter said so. She dodged a bullet.
Except, she didn’t. Johnson herself seeked a second opinion ten months later. Her new doctors ordered an emergency biopsy. Her “no evidence of cancer” had snowballed into stage 4 breast cancer that had spread to her lymph nodes and bones.
Kim Johnson was sent a letter that changed her life. She could have started treatment immediately and never reached stage 4. This was a serious case of breast cancer malpractice.
A breast cancer lawsuit might not completely make up for the turmoil and medical injuries a patient sustains. But it can shed light on a negligent hospital system. And more importantly, it can give you some sort of justice while compensating you for all those medical bills. But you don’t have to go through it alone. Whether you’ve dealt with a delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis when it comes to filing a breast cancer lawsuit, we can help. Contact Hampton & King today to learn how you can file your claim.
Diagnostic Errors And Breast Cancer
Case reports and anecdotal evidence shows that diagnostic errors related to breast cancer are common.
All forms of cancer can be difficult to diagnose. Even the most professional and experienced practitioners can have difficulty in detecting cancer. But breast cancer lawsuits come about when the diagnostic errors occur due to negligence. Here are some common ways doctors can be negligent when it comes to breast cancer:
- Failing to inform a patient of mammogram results
- Delaying sharing mammogram results
- Failing to order correct tests
- Not ordering a biopsy
- Misreading biopsy results
- Not ordering follow-up screenings/additional tests
- Not evaluating a breast lump correctly
- Failing to monitor any abnormalities
Delayed Diagnosis, Misdiagnosis, And Undetected Breast Cancer
Breast cancer malpractice can come in many different forms. The most common forms of malpractice when it comes to breast cancer are delayed diagnosis, misdiagnosis, and undetected breast cancer.
Let’s say you go in to get some pain looked at, or that lump checked out. And the doctors are adamant that nothing is there. You go about your business while the very real tumor in your breast is enlarging. It’s also spreading. A few months later you get a call from your doctor that they think you have cancer. This is a case of delayed diagnosis and can be a reason for malpractice. Had the doctor diagnosed the cancer initially, you could have started treatment right away; saving you from more pain and suffering, further stress, and eventually more treatment and bills.
A delayed diagnosis can also be the difference between life and death. Detecting breast cancer at Stage 4 instead of Stage 1, for example, decreases life expectancy significantly.
Misdiagnosis is different from delayed diagnosis but can have similarly tragic results. It occurs when a doctor diagnoses a patient with a condition different from what he/she actually has.
For example, a nursing mother comes to the doctor’s office complaining about pain in her breast. The doctor may diagnose her with mastitis – inflamed tissue in the breast that leads to infection. The doctor prescribes her antibiotics. In actuality, however, the mother had breast cancer.
Undetected Breast Cancer
A doctor may significantly delay diagnosing breast cancer out of negligence. Or even misdiagnosing it for some other condition. Sometimes though, a doctor may never diagnose the patient with anything at all. Like in the case of Kim Johnson. Her original doctors never detected breast cancer or misdiagnosed her for some other condition. If the patient is not proactive about their own health, they could continue to suffer and let an undetected disease take over their life. This could lead to a breast cancer lawsuit, or even a wrongful death lawsuit.
How To File A Claim
Remember when we said even the most professional doctors may have difficulty detecting breast cancer? Well diagnostic errors alone may not be enough to file a claim. Instead, you need to show it was because of the doctor’s negligence that your breast cancer was misdiagnosed, delayed, undetected, or worsened some other way.
Here’s the bottom line. Your claim must show:
Your injuries were preventable had the medical professional acted more responsibly and professionally.
And how exactly do you prove negligence? You’ll want the expertise of a malpractice attorney for this. Speaking generally though, here’s what your claim must show:
- Your medical provider had a duty to provide you with proper medical care. This includes doing everything in their control to identify your breast cancer and come up with a treatment plan.
- There was a breach of duty. Did the medical provider not order a specific test? Delayed in informing you? Misdiagnosed you because of negligence?
- Your medical provider’s negligence caused you harm.
- The damages you suffered.
Ready To File A Breast Cancer Lawsuit?
You wouldn’t go into an exam without any prep work, right? Well, hopefully not anyway. Filing a claim is kind of like one giant exam. You need to prepare for the best results. That means gathering all information that pertains to your case. This includes:
- All medical documents. We’re talking lab reports, scans, x-rays, every single check up, etc.
- A record of your medical bills. The expenses related to your injury would not have existed had the doctor acted responsibly. Make sure you bring together all receipts and bills so you can include them in your claim.
- Every single form of communication between you and your provider
- Any medications or prescriptions
Contact The Right Attorney
Maneuvering a medical malpractice case is difficult. Having the right team by your side can make a world of a difference. You’ll want to contact a lawyer who has experience in this field so they can ensure your case is presented in the best possible way.
Most medical malpractice cases have a strict statute of limitations. In many state, you’ll only have 2 years to file a breast cancer lawsuit. If you delay this, you might not receive the compensation you deserve.
If you believe a medical provider acted negligently when it came to your (or a loved one’s) breast cancer, contact us now! Together we may be able to build your case and get you the compensation you deserve!
FAQs About Breast Cancer Lawsuits
Do doctors make mistakes diagnosing breast cancer?
Doctors can and do make mistakes. Misdiagnosing breast cancer is one of those mistakes that happens every so often. Like everybody else, doctors are human, and humans make mistakes. But there’s a problem if the mistake is a negligent one. If you believe your doctor acted negligently regarding your (or a loved one’s) breast cancer, contact a lawyer as soon as you can. Your lawyer will help you figure out if you have a case, and what the next steps are.
How often is breast cancer misdiagnosed?
Breast cancer seems to get misdiagnosed/overdiagnosed a lot. And delayed diagnosis happens a lot too. In fact, late detection of breast cancer is “the most frequent reason for lawsuits against doctors.” (According to the National Association of Science Writers.)
And “breast cancer was overdiagnosed in more than 70,000 women; this accounted for 31% of all breast cancers diagnosed.” (According to the New England Journal of Medicine.)
Can you sue for misdiagnosis of cancer?
If you have been harmed because of a cancer misdiagnosis, you can file a malpractice lawsuit against the hospital or doctor. Many patients sue for compensation because their misdiagnosis resulted in a delayed treatment. Delayed treatment can cause serious problems, and even death.
Can a breast cancer biopsy be wrong?
Yes. But it is rare. According to Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, biopsy results are incorrect in 1% to 2% of surgical pathology cases. This incorrect biopsy result is called a false negative or a false positive.