Timely diagnosis and treatment are key to surviving many serious medical conditions. When a serious health problem is missed by a doctor or the condition is incorrectly diagnosed, the delay in getting the right treatment can have serious consequences for the patient.
Medical misdiagnosis attorney Lisa S. Levine handles all types of failure to diagnose claims in Florida for a variety of conditions, including the following:
A sarcoma is a cancerous tumor of the body’s connective tissues, such as bones, fat and cartilage. There are two types — soft tissue sarcoma and bone sarcoma. Both forms are relatively rare, although soft tissue sarcoma is more common in adults, and bone cancers are more common in children.
Symptoms of bone cancer include:
- Bone pain
- Swelling near the affected area
- Unexplained weight loss
When detected early, the survival rates for bone cancer are good, but when diagnosed at a late stage, the chances of successful treatment are reduced. Every year, approximately 1,470 people in the U.S. die as a result of bone or joint cancer.
Often bone cancer isn’t found until it has spread to other parts of the body While it’s not always the case, sometimes this failure to timely diagnose bone cancer is due to a doctor missing critical clues to what was ailing their patient or didn’t pursue testing for this type of sarcoma because the condition is rare.
About 1 in 8 women will have breast cancer in their lifetime. According to the American Cancer Society, the chance of dying from breast cancer is 1 in 36.
Great advancements have been made in preventing, detecting and treating this form of cancer, with more than 2.9 million breast cancer survivors living in the United States today. Medical experts agree that a timely diagnosis greatly increases the chances of successful treatment.
Because breast cancer symptoms can also be symptoms of other health problems, proper testing is essential. Mammograms and biopsies are common tests used to determine whether a patient has breast cancer, but if a doctor fails to order the tests, or a medical professional fails to read the tests correctly, it can delay treatment and worsen the patient’s chances of survival.
In 2012 alone, more than 200,000 lung cancer cases diagnosed and 150,000 deaths related to lung cancer. Early diagnosis and treatment are critical in increasing the chances of a patient’s survival.
Most early diagnoses come from the appearance of a nodule on an x-ray, followed by a biopsy of the growth. A chest x-ray is not typically part of an annual exam, so this form of test is usually ordered based on a patient’s symptoms.
Early symptoms of lung cancer include:
- Persistent, lingering cough
- Breathing changes
- Chest pain
- Raspy, hoarse voice
- Unexplained weight loss
Malpractice cases arising from a failure to timely diagnose lung cancer most often stem from a nodule being missed on tests ordered specifically on the lungs. However, there are also a large number of cases that come from a failure to follow up on “incidental findings.” This refers to a nodule being shown on a test for something else. For example, a case might arise when a patient is x-rayed for a shoulder injury and a lung abnormality shows up on the film but is not noted or followed up on.
Hydrocephalus occurs when fluid in the brain does not drain properly and creates pressure in the brain. When untreated, it can lead to short-term memory loss, problems with motor skills, problems with vision, seizures and other medical issues.
The treatment for hydrocephalus is most often a shunt, which is a medical device made of flexible plastic tubing. The shunts are surgically placed between the brain ventricles and in the abdominal cavity to allow for proper draining of the cerebrospinal fluid to alleviate pressure in the brain.
Once the shunt is placed, it must be monitored to ensure proper function. Possible complications include infection, mechanical failure and obstruction. If a shunt malfunction occurs and is not diagnosed in a timely manner, it can result in serious injury for the patient.
A pulmonary embolism is a blood clot that travels to the lungs and becomes lodged in the blood vessels. It is one of the leading causes of preventable death during hospitalization.
Pulmonary embolism symptoms include shortness of breath, sharp chest pain, intense sweating, anxiety, rapid pulse and more. Recognizing the signs and treating the embolism immediately is critical in saving the life of the patient. If the medical staff fails to recognize the symptoms or minimizes their seriousness, the delay in treatment could be fatal for the patient.
Skin cancer is most often diagnosed when the patient notices an abnormal mole or a doctor finds one during an exam. If it’s found early, a precancerous mole can be removed before it has a chance to metastasize and spread to other places in the body.
However, if your doctor doesn’t order a biopsy or the lab from a biopsy are not reported to your doctor, you might not receive treatment in time to prevent the cancer’s spread.
Symptoms of skin cancer can include:
- Changes in moles
- New growth, such as a mole or pale bump
- Raised red bump
- Scaly patch of skin
- Bleeding of moles
Medical mistakes that can cause a preventable delay in a skin cancer diagnosis including failing to recommend a biopsy or other tests, failing to refer a patient to a dermatologist or oncologist in a timely fashion, failing to identify and remove a potentially malignant growth, and failing to communicate with other medical providers.
Failing to timely diagnose skin cancers can mean the patient has to endure much more aggressive treatments and is at a higher risk of premature death.
Prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer in men. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2015, more than 220,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed and more than 27,000 men will die from the condition.
Symptoms may include:
- Urinary problems
- Prostate enlargement
- Sexual dysfunction
- Elevated PSA levels in the blood
- Frequent pain in hips, lower back or upper thighs
There are several treatment options available for men diagnosed with prostate cancer, but sometimes medical professionals fail to recognize the symptoms or order proper screening.
If you or a loved one suffered the consequences of one of the different types of failure to diagnose claims in Florida, contact Lisa S. Levine, P.A. today to schedule a free consultation and discuss your case.