It is human nature for us to trust our doctors. When your doctor tells you that there is nothing to worry about, rarely does anyone seek a second opinion. Rather, we are relieved to hear the doctor’s positive report and we want to believe that things are fine. So when a doctor misses a cancer diagnosis, not only do we feel betrayed, but the results can be deadly. But how do you know whether the misdiagnosis can lead to a malpractice lawsuit in Tennessee?
The doctor must have been negligent in misdiagnosing the cancer
In Tennessee, the first step to proving a cancer misdiagnosis case is to establish that the doctor did not act with ordinary and reasonable care. It is negligent for a doctor to do something that another careful and prudent doctor would not do, just as it is negligent for a doctor to fail to do something that a careful and prudent doctor would do. Some common failures that can lead to a negligent misdiagnosis are as follows:
- Failure to Order Additional Tests – Oftentimes cancer is missed because the doctor did not order the correct diagnostic or lab tests in order to detect the cancer. For instance, a woman who goes to the doctor with a lump in her breast may need to have a CT scan or biopsy.
- Failure to Recognize Signs and Symptoms – Sometimes cancer can have signs and symptoms that are associated with the disease. For instance, pancreatic cancer can cause upper abdominal pain, nausea, and digestive problems. When these signs and symptoms are overlooked, the cancer can go undiagnosed and untreated.
- Labs and Diagnostic Tests Not Properly Interpreted – Even when the doctor orders the rights tests, the results can be misread or misinterpreted. Believe it or not, sometimes the tests are mishandled, lost, or not even examined by the correct doctor.
The misdiagnosis or delay in treatment must have caused harm
The second prong of proving a cancer misdiagnosis case is showing the harm caused by the doctor’s actions. For example, the misdiagnosis may cause the patient’s cancer treatment to be delayed for several months, therefore making the cancer incurable. Of course there are times when the doctor is negligent but the conduct does not actually cause harm to the patient. For instance, if the cancer is originally misdiagnosed but a few days later or even a week later it is discovered, the failure to correctly diagnose the cancer may not cause the patient additional harm. In other words, the outcome or prognosis may be the same. Sure you may feel angry or betrayed by the doctor’s treatment, but you will likely not be able to successfully sue the doctor in court.
How do you know if you have a malpractice case?
The only way to determine if you have a valid medical malpractice case is to contact an experienced law firm. We have a full-time registered nurse on staff waiting to evaluate your potential lawsuit. We are compassionate and sensitive to our client’s situation and we understand that when someone contacts us it is because they are in desperate need of assistance. Our consultations are always free and if we take your case, you pay nothing unless we obtain compensation.
Call us today at 901-680-9777. Our Memphis, Tennessee medical malpractice lawyers are waiting to help.
Since graduating magna cum laude in 2005 from the University of Memphis School of Law, Thomas has helped make a difference in the lives of victims of serious personal injury, wrongful death, and professional negligence. Thomas has extensive trial experience in both state and federal court. Among other victories in the courtroom, Thomas obtained several impressive jury verdicts and settlements
Read more about Thomas R. Greer