New York City Failure to Diagnose Cancer Attorneys


What is Failure to Diagnose Cancer?

If you are reading this, chances are you or someone you know has been affected by cancer, or suffered from the repercussions of a physician’s failure to diagnose cancer at a critical stage. By its definition “failure to diagnose” refers to a physician “departing from medical practice” or a health care professional who has “moved away from good and acceptable medical practice.” In a nutshell: Your doctor did not find anything that he believed required a diagnosis—there was no diagnosis. A later visit, however, reveals a condition that has advanced. Negligent delay on the part of the doctor is something that you will have to prove if you reasonably believe your doctor could have caught or identified an impending disease earlier in the stages of your visitation schedule. The doctor or hospital could be responsible for the quality of care you suffered that you might otherwise not have suffered had an early diagnosis been made.

Depending on how early the cancer is detected makes all the difference in the type of treatment and intensity of treatment that is prescribed for the patient. In addition, the advances in medical equipment and technology should provide the best early detection. Radiation and chemotherapy could be avoided in many cases, if the cancer is detected early. Without the detection, treatment for care can be painful, frustrating and aggressive. The aftermath of failure to diagnose could mean extensive pain and suffering for the patient and family, as well as prolonged financial hardship.

Holding Medical Experts Accountable in Their Failure to Diagnose Cancer

Today’s harsh reality is that you or someone you know will develop a form of cancer. Despite our measures to live healthier, abundant lives that are enriched and balanced with proper nutrition, exercise, nurturing relationships and fulfilling jobs, the probability of cancer affecting your life in some way continues to be very high. How can this be?

Coupled with our own abilities to live better lives, we place our trust and care in the hands of our family physicians, and we rely on them to make accurate and early diagnoses if it is noticed that there are abnormalities in our bodies during a routine check-up. After all, we visited the doctor for a certain reason or as part of our annual visit. We trust that their records and notes are accurate, and that the information was documented correctly and legibly. It does not cross our minds to second-guess that our family physician missed something in a diagnosis, whether it be a common cold, or something more serious like a cancerous disease. What happens when we visit our doctor and an advanced form of cancer shows up? Shouldn’t this have been caught at an earlier visit?

Time is critical in the identification of cancer, heart conditions, birth defects and other serious physical conditions, and the ability to diagnose the symptoms quickly will help patients maximize their chances for recovery. Many failure to diagnose cases occur when certain tests are not ordered or when testing is administered improperly, a misreading occurs, a misinterpretation is communicated, or there is an overlooked inability to obtain the affected tissue area in a biopsy. If a physician does not order the right test, misreads test results or simply overlooks critical information or telltale symptoms, in a worse-case scenario of delayed diagnosis of an aggressive disease, that patient could potentially lose his or her life.

Identification and Early Detection of Cancers Related to Failure to Diagnose Cancer

Although 150 types of cancers have been found in humans, all cancers fall into just two categories: sarcoma and carcinoma. Not all cancers have blatant signs, but a regular visit will generally help determine changes that occur in the body. Signs like: unusual bleeding, persistent cough or throat scratchiness, lumps or thickening in the neck, armpits or stomach, difficulty swallowing, and recurring problems with digestion are just a few abnormalities of which any patient should be aware. While these symptoms and signs might not be red flags for cancer, specifically, they should be considered if they persist and prove abnormal after several routine visits.

Annual checkups are important and necessary. They help determine what is normal and what is abnormal. Identifying the early signs of cancer is extremely important, and can sometimes occur during self-checkups and routine self-evaluations. Health care providers are adamant about communicating the importance of self-exams, routine physical exams, and paying attention to one’s body. As such, prevention becomes the key and is often the first attempt toward identifying bigger problems. Self-testing like self-breast exams, and other routine tests like pap smears or prostate exams are a necessity, and trends are being developed so that these types of tests can become less invasive. And, while early symptoms of cancer can be difficult to see, it means even more than ever we trust the importance of the diagnostic standards through various forms of testing like CAT scans or an MRI, when ordered by our physician.

Early intervention of a disease also means that the disease has the potential of being treated effectively if it is caught early enough, before it metastasizes. In the case of failure to diagnose a cancer, the treatment for a cancer that has matured because of failure to diagnose could mean the difference between a minor procedure, an advanced (or possibly unsuccessful aggressive treatment), or the worst case scenario – death.

Questions you may need to have answered when you are seeking legal advice for the malpractice of your physician’s failure to diagnose cancer include:

  • Doctor negligence in reviewing the patient’s history. Are there others in the family who have been treated or diagnosed with certain diseases? Was the physician aware of this history?
  • Did you see your doctor at the start of some symptoms and now are seeing him again? If you never originally saw the doctor in the first place, it will be more difficult to determine a starting point for the case.
  • At what stage of the cancer did the physician determine his findings? Stage 1 could mean early detection; Stage 4 could be more advanced. Each stage has its differences.
  • Did you ask for follow-up testing and did not get it?
  • Was your physician negligent in scheduling follow-up appointments?
  • Was your physician aware of your social or occupational habits? Did he inform you of the consequences of working in a certain field due to toxins, chemicals or other environmental factors?
  • Were there charting errors in your medical records, such as lack of documenting the size, shape or texture of any abnormality?

Investigation for a case of failure to diagnose starts in the hands of a firm such as Finz & Finz, P.C., who is renowned for settlements in the areas of medical malpractice and failure to diagnose. It is important to know that there could be a short period of time by which to take action from the point it was determined that the disease existed. If you or someone you know has suffered or died as a result of a physician’s failure to diagnose a disease or type of cancer, you have rights and we are here to help you identify and assert the rights you have as a patient. The medical community is responsible for upholding a standard of care; yet, there could still be a failure to communicate between the hospitals, physicians, technicians and patients.

What is involved in an investigation when it comes to proving failure to diagnose cancer? Among obtaining medical records, witness reports and other types of documentation, cases like failure to diagnose often involve bringing in experts in this field. Experts who might be involved in investigations include an oncologist, obstetrician, family or general physician, epidemiologist, and or an industrial hygienist who has knowledge of hazards and toxic conditions in certain job sites.

Instead of taking on legal issues on your own when dealing with physicians who may have been negligent in their failure to diagnose cancer, your first step might be to contact a law firm that specializes in these types of malpractice cases. Without any obligation, we invite you to fill out and submit our Free Failure to Diagnose Case Evaluation form, or you can contact us toll free at (855) TOP-FIRM to further discuss your case.

In addition to failure to diagnose, Finz & Finz, P.C., handles all types of medical malpractice cases, including the following conditions:

  • Birth defects
  • Strokes
  • Liver cancer
  • Cervical or vaginal cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Osteoporosis

The team at Finz & Finz, P.C., consists of attorneys renowned for achieving desirable results in lawsuits related to failure to diagnose cancer. The lawyers and paralegals at the firm are standing by to answer your questions. Call toll free at (855) TOP-FIRM.