When a patient suspects that he or she may have cancer, it is a concern that doctors must approach with the utmost regard and seriousness. There is no room for error in cases that involve patients who may potentially have cancer. Some forms of cancer may go into remission if detected early on, and it is vital that doctors are able to help patients who may be treated in these early stages. In a recent case involving a woman with vulvar cancer, doctors failed to perform the biopsy that she required in a timely manner.
A two-year waiting period occurred before the staff at the Women’s Vulvar Clinic of the Hershey Medical Center finally performed the biopsy that Sandra L. Berry had requested. Mrs. Berry’s gynecologist had advised her to obtain a biopsy from the Medical Center, but the Center dismissed her symptoms and claimed that she did not show signs of cancer. As a result of the extensive waiting period that she underwent before receiving the biopsy, Mrs. Berry suffered from chronic pain and discomfort. She ultimately died in January 2012, and her family argues that her ill condition may have been prevented with an early biopsy. Ms. Berry died after the lawsuit had been filed in court.The legal battle between Mrs. Berry’s family members and the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center went on for two years before a settlement was finally agreed upon. The Medical Center disagreed with the Berry family’s claim of negligence, but it continued to settle the case with the family members for $2.4 million. There was also no mediation involved in the settlement process.
The Misdiagnosis of Cancer
The misdiagnosis of cancer is one of the most common forms of medical malpractice. A doctor or nurse may fail to order a biopsy in a case like that of Mrs. Berry due to the high cost of biopsy tests and other tests that are able to detect cancer. Patients should try to consult with doctors who have a good reputation for treating those who have had cancer. One may want to research a doctor to see whether he or she has had any past negative experiences in failing to detect cancer within patients. This can be a red flag that a doctor is not competent to work with cancer patients.
Patients who believe that they may have cancer should be aware of the types of misdiagnosis that exist. Those who understand how a doctor may have failed them in the process of detecting cancer may be able to file a lawsuit against the doctor or medical facility for damages. Here are some common examples of a failure to diagnose cancer in patients:
- Failure to order the proper tests
- Failure to adequately read test results
- Failure to provide test results to patients
- Failure to instruct patients on appropriate steps to take after receiving test results
- Failure to follow up with additional testing when necessary
- Failure to seriously consider symptoms or complaints of patients
- Failure to identify obvious signs of cancer within patients, such as a lump or tumor
Patients should always feel free to discuss any symptoms that concern them with doctors. They should feel that doctors have regarded their complaints in a serious manner.
Filing a Lawsuit for a Failure to Diagnose Cancer
If you or a loved one has suffered injury or death as a result of a doctor’s failure to diagnose cancer, then you may wish to file a lawsuit. A Chicago Medical Malpractice Attorney can help you get started in filing a failure to diagnose cancer lawsuit.