The last thing you want to hear your doctor announce as they look over your test results is that they believe you have some form of cancer. Of course, if you do actually have cancer, getting that bad news is a very important step on the path toward effective treatment and potential remission.
Cancer spreads in most cases and becomes harder to treat as it grows throughout the body. The sooner you diagnose cancer, the better your prognosis is and the more options you may have for treatment. Unfortunately, doctors frequently make mistakes when diagnosing people with cancer.
What rights do you have if your doctor makes a major mistake related to cancer?
You could file a malpractice claim
Diagnostic mistakes are much more common than people think. There are roughly 12 million such errors that occur every year in the United States, and researchers estimate that between 40,000 and 80,000 of those mistakes will prove fatal for the patient. Many of those fatalities involve delayed cancer diagnosis.
When a doctor jumps to conclusions, they could potentially face a medical malpractice claim because they did not follow professional standards when diagnosing you. If they failed to rule out more serious causes before deciding that your symptoms were the result of insomnia or a basic cold, their decision to bypass proper diagnostic procedures and diagnose you quickly instead of accurately might give you grounds for a medical malpractice claim.
How malpractice claims can help
Some people dislike the idea of holding their doctor financially accountable for a mistake. They worry that their claim might put their doctor out of practice. However, most medical professionals carry malpractice insurance. You can potentially file a straightforward insurance claim, or you may need to go to court in some cases to present expert witnesses and evidence that shows your physician made a very serious mistake.
A successful claim will award you financial compensation for the real-world consequences of your doctor’s failure. It will also likely result in an increased malpractice insurance premium for the doctor or the facility, which may prompt a change in daily practices. Once a company or a professional has felt the financial pain of a large claim related to a diagnostic failure, they may put more emphasis on adhering to proper diagnostic procedure in the future.
Although a medical malpractice claim can’t undo the harm a doctor caused through their failings, it can compensate you and potentially prevent such issues from harming others in the future. Speaking up when medical malpractice affects your health, career or financial circumstances can make it easier for you to secure justice for your losses.