Colon Cancer Misdiagnosis
If your doctor misdiagnoses or fails to diagnose colon cancer, you may have a basis to sue for medical malpractice. Each case is different, however, and not every mistake constitutes negligence. You will need to retain an expert to review your medical records, among other evidence, in order to make a claim. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, our Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys have extensive experience holding healthcare professionals accountable for misconduct, and we may be able to help you recover damages for a colon cancer misdiagnosis.What is Colon Cancer?
Colon cancer is a cancer of the large intestine, the last portion of the digestive tract. Often colon cancer starts out with clumps of cells or polyps that become cancerous. Initially they may be small and have very few symptoms. It can be helpful to identify and take out the polyps before they turn into cancer. Symptoms of colon cancer can include weakness, fatigue, the feeling of being unable to empty your bowels completely, rectal bleeding, persistent cramps or gas, inexplicable weight loss, and alterations to one's bowel movements such as diarrhea. However, symptoms can vary, and you should go see your doctor as soon as you notice any signs of colon cancer. Usually colon cancer screening starts at age 50.
It's not always apparent what has caused colon cancer. Once the DNA in a cell is damaged and turns cancerous, the cells may continue to divide until they create a tumor. They may destroy other nearby tissues. If you go to see a doctor, he or she should follow the professional standard of care to diagnose your symptoms.Colon Cancer Misdiagnosis and Failure to Diagnose
The main way doctors screen or test for colon cancer is through a colonoscopy, in which a tube that's lit on one end is put into the rectum while a patient is under sedation. This allows for visualization of the colon and rectum so that polyps can be removed and analyzed. Testing is also done with a barium enema, a flexible sigmoidoscoy, or stool blood testing. Doctors may misdiagnose or otherwise err when they don't investigate low red blood cell counts, don't recommend colon cancer screening or a colonoscopy (especially where there are symptoms or over a certain age), don't offer early colon cancer screening, don't get a family history, don't visualize the whole colon during the colonoscopy, don't identify a polyp, make mistakes in interpreting tissue samples, fail to coordinate with other medical care providers, or fail to follow up on colonoscopy results.
Colon cancer misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose is serious. When colon cancer is detected early, there is a better prognosis. The delay can result in a need for radical surgery, chemotherapy or radiation, and more aggressive treatment. Sometimes the colon needs to be removed and a colostomy bag is needed. The delay can result in extreme physical pain, inoperable cancer, loss of bowel function, organ removal, more expensive treatment, and early death.Malpractice Claims Related to Colon Cancer
To establish that your doctor's misdiagnosis of or failure to diagnose colon cancer was medical malpractice you'll need to show: (1) a doctor-patient relationship, (2) breach of the professional duty of care, (3) causation, and (4) actual damages. You will need to retain an expert on the issue of what the professional duty of care was under the circumstances and given your characteristics, and a skilled malpractice attorney can help you arrange this. The expert will also need to provide an opinion about whether it was a breach of the professional duty of care to misdiagnose or fail to diagnose colon cancer, and whether that breach is what caused your injuries. Sometimes health care providers defend on the grounds that a patient's injuries were the result of the illness progressing, rather than their failure to diagnose. If you would have suffered harm regardless of whether you were diagnosed at a particular time, this defense may be successful, so it is advisable to work with a trustworthy and experienced medical malpractice lawyer.Consult an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney in Syracuse
DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represents injured patients and families in Syracuse, Rochester, Elmira, Binghamton, Ithaca, Auburn, Cooperstown, Norwich, Herkimer, Delhi, Cortland, Oswego, Oneida, Lowville, Oswego, Utica, Watertown, Wampsville, Canandaigua, Cooperstown, and Lyons. Please call us at 315-479-9000 or contact us via our online form to learn more.