What are My Rights if I’ve Been Falsely Diagnosed with Cancer?
When you think about cancer misdiagnosis, you’re probably assuming an error in detecting the disease or a delay in identifying it. These scenarios are devastating for patients who realize they’ve lost precious treatment time that they can’t get back. Still, there’s another form of mistake that’s equally troubling and can be just as horrific for a patient: A false positive diagnosis of cancer. If this type of situation resulted in receiving treatment you didn’t need, you’re justifiably upset. However, you may wonder if you have rights as a patient. A Miami failure to diagnose cancer lawyer can provide details, and you can also read on for some background information.
How a false diagnosis of cancer occurs: There are various factors behind mistakes in diagnosing cancer, but the two most common root causes of many errors are:
- Screening Equipment: Advancements in medical technology have enabled screening tests that are far more sensitive than ever. While the equipment does detect even the tiniest traces of cancer early, it may also return positive results that don’t involve affected cells. Plus, the likelihood of a false positive reading increases with additional screenings. According to the Susan G. Komen Foundation:
- A woman’s chances of a false positive result for breast cancer are as high as 12 percent for a first mammogram
- After a woman has 10 annual mammograms, the likelihood of a false positive is around 50-60 percent
Of course, it’s up to a physician to order follow-up tests when a first cancer screening returns a positive result. Moving ahead with treatment right away may be a misdiagnosis mistake.
- Human Error: When you undergo a cancer screening, your test results go to a specialist for interpretation. Radiologists read x-ray and CT scans, while pathologists study biopsies and other biological samples for cancerous material. These health care providers must be properly trained and have extensive experience in identifying the presence of cancer; even when they do have the requisite knowledge, they can still make mistakes in diagnosing.
Harm Caused by a False Diagnosis of Cancer: The primary harm in a false positive diagnosis of cancer occurs when a physician rushes the patient into starting treatment right away. Many strategies for fighting cancer are massively damaging to healthy cells, including:
- Chemotherapy, which can lead to hair loss and intense flu-like symptoms
- Radiation, a treatment that’s linked to an increased chance of developing a second cancer
- Surgery, which is very invasive and carries a high risk of infection
Trust a Miami Medical Malpractice Attorney to Protect Your Rights
Though you’re relieved to learn you don’t have cancer, you’ve still been through a horrific ordeal and suffered losses because of the physician’s error. You may have legal options to recover compensation through a misdiagnosis claim, which is a type of medical malpractice case. At Freidin Brown, P.A., our team has extensive experience in these matters, so we’re prepared to fight on your behalf. Please contact our Miami or Fort Myers offices to schedule your free case evaluation today.