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How Florida Health Care Providers Defend Failure To Diagnose Cancer Claims


It is certainly concerning that cancer remains the second leading cause of death in the US, falling behind heart disease and just ahead of personal injury accidents. However, other statistics from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are encouraging. The number of individuals who died because of cancer and complications has dropped by 27 percent from 1999 to 2018. In Florida, the reduction in the rate of cancer deaths has also been significant during the same period: The rate was 189.9 per 100,000 people in 1999 and had dipped to 141.3 in 2018, an approximate reduction of 25 percent fewer cancer deaths.

Early diagnosis and intervention play a critical role in driving trends on cancer fatalities – and in boosting outcomes for individual patients. Diagnostic errors are preventable, though a negligent health care provider will contest any wrongdoing. As such, it is crucial to consult with a Florida medical malpractice lawyer about a failure to diagnose cancer and defenses physicians use to avoid liability. 

“It was already there.” This assertion is true for just about any cancer, which will likely be present and growing even at minuscule rates. The goal of your physician should be getting as close to detection at Stage 0 as possible, at which point the cancer remains where it started and has not spread to other tissues. Diagnosis at Stage 1, where the cancer is small and localized, is also linked to positive outcomes. Being diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, followed by an allegation that the cancer was “already there,” indicates a physician dropped the ball. 

“Earlier detection would not have impacted survival.” Not all forms of the disease are treatable regardless of cancer staging. Therefore, health care providers often defend allegations on the grounds that the patient would have died despite prompt diagnosis and intervention. This assumption overlooks an important factor in a medical malpractice claim: The patient outcome, which is not as clear-cut as death versus becoming cancer-free. An early detection might have enabled the patient to enjoy some quality of life. 

“The cancer growth models do not support a diagnosis error.” Cancer growth models measure the expansion of a tumor or cancerous cells, enabling oncologists to work backward from diagnosis to inception date. With this information, the defense could be that the growth model shows development of cancer before the physician’s alleged negligence. However, there are numerous flaws with these models that prevent an accurate assessment of when the cancer started. 

“Cancer went undetected because of other parties.” A physician might also attempt to shift blame to avoid liability, such as lab techs, radiologists, pathologists, and others that had a hand with tests, imaging, biopsies, and related diagnostic tools.

Discuss Failure to Diagnose Cancer with an Experienced Florida Med Mal Attorney 

For more information on your rights after suffering injuries from a cancer diagnosis error, please contact our Miami failure to diagnose cancer lawyers at Freidin Brown, P.A. to speak to a member of our team. We can schedule a complimentary case evaluation at our offices where we will review your circumstances and advise you on next steps.



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