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Failure to Diagnose Brain Cancer

Lawyers for Medical Malpractice Victims in Syracuse

Brain cancer can occur because one kind of brain cell changes from its normal state and multiplies in abnormal ways. It’s not clear precisely why that happens, but factors that may contribute include genetics, environmental toxins, radiation, smoking, and HIV. Brain cancer, or malignant tumors, can show up presenting as a wide range of symptoms. These may include confusion, sleepiness, seizures, weakness, changed mental status, abnormalities in vision, speech difficulties, and behavioral changes. Tumor cells need nutrients and blood to survive. Sometimes benign tumors don’t turn malignant, but still present brain health problems by squeezing or pressing on tissue. If you were injured or a loved one died due to a health care provider’s failure to diagnose brain cancer, you may have the ability to exercise legal rights to obtain damages from the responsible doctor or hospital. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, we fight for victims of negligence, and one of our dedicated Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys can help you understand your legal options.

Failure to Diagnose Brain Cancer

A doctor’s failure to timely and correctly diagnose brain cancer can have devastating consequences. Brain cancer symptoms may be different from patient to patient because a tumor’s location will affect the kinds of symptoms that occur. There are around 120 types of central nervous system and brain tumors. Some of these include pituitary tumors, metastatic brain tumors, acoustic neuromas, astrocytomas, meningiomas, gliomas, and schwannomas.

Brain tumor symptoms might include blurred vision, serious headaches, slurred speech, nausea, and vomiting. Brain tumors can also have symptoms that make a doctor think that there is a neurological disorder or disease. Often, doctors who are presented with symptoms may need to include brain cancer in their differential diagnosis and conduct proper tests to rule it out or diagnose it. Tumors can grow rapidly and might quickly get to the point that they can no longer be controlled or treated. This is why prompt diagnosis is vital to recovery.

Diagnosis can involve multiple steps. It may be appropriate to conduct imaging such as a CT or MRI, a spinal tap, skull X-ray, biopsy, angiogram, or myelogram. Factors that can affect both diagnosis and treatment include the patient’s particular characteristics, including medical history and age. Further, in the context of medical malpractice, the steps a primary care physician should take may be different than the steps required of an oncologist or a brain cancer specialist.


You may be able to recover damages if you can establish a health care provider’s liability for failure to diagnose cancer. However, not every mistake in the diagnosis process counts as medical malpractice. Moreover, different doctors may be held to different professional standards of care.

In order to prevail in a medical malpractice lawsuit, you will need to show: (1) the defendant owed you a professional duty of care, (2) breach of the professional duty of care, (3) causation, and (4) damages. The doctor’s failure to diagnose brain cancer must have caused the harm you experienced. If the harm would have happened regardless of the failure in the diagnosis process, you won’t be able to recover. An attorney with experience handling medical negligence cases can evaluate whether the facts of your case may fulfill the causation element.

When a loved one dies because of medical malpractice and you wish to pursue a wrongful death claim, you’ll need to show not only the elements of medical malpractice, but also show that New York’s wrongful death law applies. Under the New York Estates, Powers and Trust Laws, a personal representative can bring a lawsuit for wrongful death where a wrongful act, neglect, or default caused a decedent’s death.

In a wrongful death case, only pecuniary losses can be recovered for a failure to diagnose brain cancer that resulted in a patient’s death. The estate’s personal representative will need to establish the pecuniary losses. These could include loss of support for a decedent’s next of kin —spouses and children or further removed —due to the loss of the decedent’s income. It can also include loss of parental care or loss of spousal services.

Medical Malpractice Attorneys Serving Syracuse

If you have suffered harm or a loved one lost their life due to a failure to diagnose brain cancer in Syracuse, a seasoned medical negligence lawyer can assess whether you have a viable claim. DeFrancisco & Falgiatano handles personal injury and medical malpractice actions in Syracuse, Rochester, and throughout Upstate New York, including in areas such as Ithaca, Canandaigua, Cooperstown, Auburn, Binghamton, Lyons, Wampsville, Herkimer, Elmira, Utica, Oneida, Oswego, Watertown, and Lowville. Please call us at 833-200-2000 or contact us via our online form.

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"We were very impressed with how Jeff DeFrancisco represented us at trial and we were extremely happy when the jury found in our favor." D.M., Auburn, NY
"I suffered a serious injury as a result of medical malpractice. My husband and I retained Jeff DeFrancisco to assist us in this case. We were extremely happy with his representation and highly recommend him." Kelley R., Syracuse, NY
Since the insurance company was unwilling to settle the matter my case ultimately went to trial. At trial Jeff DeFrancisco did an absolutely amazing job by obtaining a very favorable result for me." T.H., Oneida, NY
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