Updated August 24, 2020

Could My Cancer Have Been Misdiagnosed?

When you set foot into a hospital, the last thing you should have to think about is whether you can trust your physician’s diagnosis. However, medical diagnostic errors do happen; there’s no way around it.

Though there is a slight margin for machine error when making a diagnosis, there is also the possibility of medical malpractice.

What Is Medical Malpractice?

When your physician strays from medical procedure standards and causes harm to you or a loved one, it is considered medical malpractice.

Medical malpractice occurs when improper, unskilled, or careless treatment is performed by a doctor or other medical provider. This type of negligence can have severe and long-term consequences for patients—especially when it comes to diagnosing a health condition like cancer.

While there is the possibility that your physician maliciously diagnoses you with a fatal illness and knowingly gives you treatment you don’t need; however, it is not very likely. More likely, a mistake occurred somewhere in the diagnosis process.

What Is the Cancer Diagnosis Process?

Diagnosing cancer is a process with several steps.

Step 1: Something Isn’t Right

You are having unusual symptoms and consult with your doctor. If they become suspicious of cancer, they will ask you about your family’s medical history and potentially order lab tests or scans to get more information.

Step 2: The Lab

Your physician will make the decision to send a few different samples to a lab to see if there is any irregularity occurring in your body. Medical experts have unofficial checklists of what may correlate to cancer. (The keyword here is “may.”)

Step 3: Time to Take a Selfie

This step goes hand in hand with the second. In the previous step, your doctor was looking for blood-related cancer. In this step, they are looking for a tumor in your body using a variety of medical imaging tools. Some of the most common imaging procedures are:

  • CT scan
  • Nuclear scan
  • Ultrasound
  • MRI
  • Pet scan
  • X-rays

Step 4: The Biopsy

In most cases, a doctor will make the decision to have a biopsy done on the part of your body that is in question. They will take a sample of tissue and send it to a pathologist to take another look.

Here is where it may get tricky. Pathologists are not always an expert on the type of cancer they are looking at under their microscope. More times than not, a pathologist will be somebody who has never seen the patient in person and may specialize in a different type of cancer. If they are in a high-pressure situation and see something that looks remotely cancerous, they must decide and call it as they see it. Their diagnosis potentially has the power to completely alter the course of treatment.

What Is the Cost of Cancer Misdiagnosis?

In addition to the emotional toll a misdiagnosis can have on you and your family, you may incur thousands of dollars in medical tests and procedures trying to determine whether you will have to endure the rigorous treatments necessary to battle a cancer you may not even have.

Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney Today

If you or a loved one have been a victim of medical malpractice or your cancer has been misdiagnosed, you are urged to contact the attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. An experienced Indianapolis medical malpractice lawyer at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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