Breast cancer is the second primary cause of cancer death and the most common invasive cancer in women. (Prostate cancer is the most common form in men.) However, a breast cancer diagnosis is not a death sentence, and survival rates have improved with advances in screening and treatment. Currently, the chance of a woman dying from breast cancer is only one in 37. If your doctor fails to diagnose breast cancer, however, you may have a viable lawsuit for medical malpractice. It is important to retain an experienced attorney to pursue your claim. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, our Syracuse cancer misdiagnosis lawyers are here to help you.Negligence Related to Breast Cancer
The risk of dying from breast cancer can be reduced with awareness of its common symptoms. These include a lump, thickening of the breast, and alterations to the nipple or the skin on the breast. There is a higher risk if you are related to someone who had breast cancer, but there are also lifestyle factors that make it more likely that you will develop breast cancer. Treatments for breast cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.
Early detection of breast cancer and early treatment are more likely to result in survival. By the time that a patient gets to Stage IV, their survival rate has dropped over 80% from what it would have been had the cancer been caught and treated at Stage I. Sometimes women who are aware of the symptoms bring them up with their doctors. The doctor, however, may make a mistake in the differential diagnosis process, fail to order a mammogram, fail to perform a biopsy, fail to order an ultrasound, fail to identify a lump during a physical exam, misread test results, or miss signs that would have resulted in an accurate diagnosis. Even when a doctor orders a mammogram, there is a chance that the radiologist will misread it.
A delay in getting treatment can result in increased pain, the loss of a breast, or death, all of which may have been preventable. You can sue your doctor or other health care providers that treated you negligently for medical malpractice. A failure to diagnose cancer is a fairly common basis for an oncology malpractice lawsuit. You will need to show that it is more likely than not that you had a doctor-patient relationship, the health care provider owed you a professional duty of care, the health care provider deviated from the standard of care, and this deviation caused your damages.
Showing that you suffered a worsening of symptoms or other harm is not sufficient to show medical malpractice. It is critical to show that your doctor departed from the standard of care in failing to diagnose you and that it was specifically the departure that caused your injuries. For example, your mother's doctor might have failed to order a mammogram, but if your mother had already progressed to advanced Stage IV breast cancer by the time that she went to see him, and the doctor's actions or omissions would not have altered the outcome of her cancer, you may not have a viable claim.
You only have 2½ years from the time of the malpractice in New York to bring a medical malpractice lawsuit. Under the continuous treatment rule, the lawsuit must be brought within 2½ years from the date of the last continuous treatment for breast cancer that resulted in harm. The statute of limitations is complicated, however, which means that it is critical to retain an attorney as soon as you are aware that you might have a basis to sue a health care provider. Before filing suit, your attorney will need time to consult an expert to testify on the standard of care and causation, among other things, and the expert will need time to review your records and what happened to determine whether there was malpractice.Consult a Knowledgeable Medical Malpractice Attorney in the Syracuse Area
If you are harmed due to a doctor's failure to diagnose breast cancer, our law firm may be able to help you recover damages from responsible parties. We represent injured patients in Syracuse, Rochester, Binghamton, Auburn, Elmira, Norwich, Cortland, Delhi, Herkimer, Watertown, Lowville, Oneida, Wampsville, Utica, Canandaigua, Oswego, Cooperstown, Ithaca, Lyons, and all of Upstate New York. Call us at 315-479-9000 or contact us via our online form.