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Articles Posted in Failure to Diagnose

Cervical cancer is cancer that starts in the cells of the cervix. The cervix is the lower, narrow end of the uterus. The cervix connects the uterus to the vagina. Cervical cancer usually develops slowly over time. Before cancer appears in the cervix, the cells of the cervix go through changes known as dysplasia, in which abnormal cells begin to appear in the cervical tissue. Over time, if not destroyed or removed, the abnormal cells may become cancer cells and start to grow and spread more deeply into the cervix and to surrounding areas.  About 14,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year. Women between the ages of 35 and 44 are most frequently diagnosed with cervical cancer. The average age at diagnosis is 50. Around 4,000 women die of cervical cancer per year.

Because cervical cancer develops from a treatable, pre-cancerous condition, it is imperative that doctors correctly interpret a woman’s Pap smear test results. When dysplasia is present and doctors fail to diagnose and treat the condition, the woman is in danger of developing cervical cancer in the future. When gynecologists fail to correctly evaluate, diagnose, and treat dysplasia and cervical cancer develops as a consequence, the woman may have legal grounds to file a medical malpractice claim. Medical malpractice occurs when healthcare providers do not adhere to the medical community’s accepted standards of care when diagnosing or treating a patient and as a result, the patient is injured or dies. Medical malpractice typically occurs due to the health care providers’ harmful, negligent acts or failure to act. Women that believe their healthcare provider acted carelessly with their health and are suffering from cervical cancer, as a result, may want to consider contacting a medical malpractice attorney for a consultation and case review.  At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, our cancer misdiagnosis lawyers help clients throughout the Upstate New York area with offices in multiple convenient locations. Our extensive experience in the medical malpractice field is reflected in the results we have achieved for our clients.

Most cervical cancers are caused by the virus HPV, a sexually transmitted infection. HPV spreads through sexual contact and can lead to cancer. Many people will get HPV at some point in their lives and not realize it because their bodies fight the infection. However, if your body doesn’t fight the infection, it can cause the cells of your cervix to change to cancerous cells. There are more than 100 kinds of HPV and about a dozen of them have been shown to lead to cancer. Early detection of these types of HPV is key to preventing cervical cancer. Regular screenings with your healthcare provider can help identify cell changes before they become cancer. The HPV vaccine can help prevent HPV infection by protecting you against the HPV that causes up to 90% of all cervical cancers.  When these cells are found early, cervical cancer is highly treatable and less likely to become serious.

Diagnosing breast cancer in a timely manner can, quite literally, mean the difference between life and death for many women. The 5-year survival rate for a woman with Stage 0 or Stage I breast cancer is nearly 100%, yet by the time cancer reaches Stage IV, the survival rates drop down to about 22%. Your healthcare team has the responsibility to take all actions possible to ensure you receive a rapid diagnosis of breast cancer, so treatment can commence as quickly as possible. Not all breast cancer starts with a lump, and sometimes breast cancer is detected on a screening mammogram that finds cancer at a stage prior to its being felt. Most of the time, women are the ones who get breast cancer. However, it is possible for men to get breast cancer. A healthcare provider should examine any lump or change in the breast.

Delayed breast cancer diagnosis is one of the most common forms of medical malpractice. The claim arises when the physician, typically a family practitioner, surgeon, dermatologist, obstetrician, or gynecologist discount or fail to recognize the severity, the physician fails to properly read radiology, or a physician or hospital fails to report the results or follow-up with the patient.  Cancer then grows and advances to more critical stages that require more severe treatment such as a mastectomy, radiation, or chemotherapy than would have been required had the cancer been diagnosed earlier. Moreover, cancer can infiltrate the lymph nodes and cause a greater chance of recurrence further decreasing the chance of survival. Aside from some forms of skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, regardless of race or ethnicity.  Screening can improve outcomes. Early detection reduces the risk of dying from breast cancer and can lead to a greater range of treatment options and lower healthcare costs.

Approximately 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. Of those, around 42,000 die per year as a result.  The stats are high, and early detection is the best way to prevent cases from becoming as extreme. Breast cancer is hard to treat and therefore requires as much time as possible to explore the range of treatment options. Medical malpractice and the failure of a physician to diagnose breast cancer can lead to devastating results. If your breast cancer worsens due to failure to diagnose, you’re entitled to seek legal compensation. Enlist the help of lawyers who are experts in dealing with injuries from medical malpractice to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.   If you believe you’ve been harmed by a misdiagnosis related to breast cancer, the experienced Upstate New York medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano can assess your case.  We help clients throughout the Upstate New York area with offices in multiple convenient locations. Our extensive experience in the medical malpractice field is reflected in the results we have achieved for our clients.

In a Syracuse medical malpractice case, the plaintiff has the burden of proving that the defendant medical provider breached the applicable standard of care. This standard must be determined on a case-by-case basis because not every doctor, nurse, or medical clinic owes a patient the same duty.

For instance, physicians in different specialties may have different duties to diagnose a particular disease in a patient. This means that a general practitioner or “family doctor” might not be expected to recognize a rare disease or illness in every situation.

It should also be noted that, even if it is determined that a particular medical provider did breach a duty of care, the inquiry does not stop there. Additionally, the plaintiff must also be able to show, by a preponderance of the evidence, that this breach of care was a proximate cause of the injuries for which the patient or his or her family seeks monetary compensation.

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The medical condition known as a “stroke” occurs when there is poor blood flow to the brain. Suffering a stroke can result in debilitating personal injuries and even death. High blood pressure is one of the main risk factors for strokes.

If a doctor’s negligence causes a patient to suffer a stroke, the patient may have a claim for medical malpractice. A Syracuse medical negligence attorney can help you review the facts of your case if you believe that you or a loved one may have a malpractice claim against a particular doctor or healthcare provider.

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Most Syracuse medical malpractice lawsuits revolve around the issue of whether the defendant healthcare provider deviated from the standard of care that applied to the plaintiff’s medical treatment and/or whether any such deviation was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries or death. This is not always the only potential claim, however.

In addition, in some cases, the plaintiff may be able to assert what is known as a “lack of informed consent” claim. A plaintiff who asserts such a claim against a defendant medical provider is, in most cases, alleging that he or she was not given sufficient information about the risks, benefits, and alternatives to a course of treatment to make an informed choice in the matter.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiffs in a medical malpractice case appealed from the Supreme Court of Richmond County was a woman, joined by her husband (asserting a derivative claim), who sought to assert a medical malpractice claim against the defendants (a gynecologist and the medical practice that employed him). According to the plaintiffs, the defendants had failed to obtain informed consent for a sterilization procedure undergone by the woman and/or had departed from the accepted standard of care for the procedure. The plaintiffs further asserted that, as a result of the defendants’ negligence, the woman had suffered serious personal injuries and had required extensive medical treatment, including a quadruple bypass surgery.

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In some Syracuse medical malpractice cases, there is but a single defendant. This could be a family doctor who ignored a patient’s symptoms of a life-threatening emergency medical condition, resulting in the patient’s death, or it could be a surgeon who negligently left medical instruments inside a patient’s body, resulting in serious bodily injury.

In most cases, however, there are multiple defendants. Sometimes these defendants are connected, such as an emergency room doctor and the hospital at which he or she provided care.

There are also cases in which the various defendants’ were not connected, except in the sense that they each provided care to the same patient. These factors can complicate matters such as the statute of limitations and whether the continuous treatment doctrine has been established if the complaint was filed beyond the ordinary deadline and an exception is sought.

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The Legislature of the State of New York has codified the limitations period for a Syracuse medical malpractice lawsuit. This means that, generally speaking, someone who is hurt by the mistake of a doctor or other healthcare professional must file a claim within that time period, or else his or her right to seek money damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other losses caused by the doctor’s mistake is forfeited.

However, it is important to note that there are exceptions to the general limitations period. Some exceptions, such as the continuous treatment doctrine, can potentially extend the period for filing suit. Likewise, there may be certain circumstances that result in a shorter effective limitations period. If you believe that you  have a claim for medical negligence, it is important to talk to an attorney as soon as possible so that appropriate measures can be taken to preserve your claim.

(Notably, the statute of limitations may be different if you were treated in another state. In some states, the period for filing a claim can be substantially shorter (or potentially longer), so it is important to get legal advice that is state-specific.)

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A delayed cancer diagnosis can be very costly to a patient. Lost time can greatly impact a patient’s treatment options and ultimate chance of recovery.

When this happens, the patient or his or her family may have the option of filing a Syracuse medical malpractice lawsuit against the physician whose negligence caused the delay. In some instances, multiple medical providers may be held accountable for the patient’s damages.

In oncology malpractice cases, as in other types of medical malpractice lawsuits, it is the plaintiff who has the burden of proof at trial. This requires expert testimony in most cases, usually from a doctor in the same specialty (or, sometimes, in a similar field) as the allegedly negligent medical provider.

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Motions for summary judgment are common in Syracuse medical malpractice cases. Summary judgment is a pre-trial procedure in which one party or the other (but usually the defendant) asks the court to award judgment to that party on the basis that there are no genuine issues of material fact on one or more claims.

If a court grants summary judgment, it is in effect saying that, even if any questionable evidence is construed in the light favoring the party opposing the motion, there really isn’t anything to fight about. In other words, a jury trial is not necessary because there are not any material facts that must be resolved.

When summary judgment is granted, the losing party has the right to seek appellate review of the lower’s court’s decision. When summary judgment is denied, sometimes there is an immediate appeal but, in some situations, the issue is addressed during the post-trial phase of the case.

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We depend heavily upon the expertise of doctors and hospital personnel to properly diagnose and treat our medical conditions, illnesses, and injuries. Most of the time, they do, and we are grateful for their help.

Sometimes, however, mistakes are made, and the patient suffers great physical harm, pain, and suffering as a result. Most hospitals and physicians carry medical malpractice insurance that covers them in such situations, if the injured person is able to make out a claim for medical malpractice.

However, proving negligence against a medical provider is not always easy. Medical experts must be retained, records must be reviewed, and various court proceedings are likely to ensue if the case is not settled early.

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