Colon Cancer Misdiagnosis
When properly diagnosed and treated, colon cancer is treatable; with a 90% survival rate when found at a local stage (meaning the cancer is still confined to the colon or rectum). As a result, it is important that men and women over 50-years-old go for regular checkups, as colon cancer has few noticeable symptoms in its early stages. While frequent checkups may be able to catch the cancer while it is treatable, patients are still reliant on the doctor to properly diagnose their illness. Unfortunately doctors' diagnoses are not always accurate. A colon cancer misdiagnosis can have disastrous consequences, with the survival rate being 69% when the cancer is found in the regional stage (the tissue surrounding the colon has also been infected) and 12% when the disease has spread to other parts of the body. In some cases, a doctor's failure to properly diagnose colon cancer can be the result of medical negligence. When a doctor's negligence leads to a misdiagnosis of colon cancer, their patients may have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Diagnosing and Misdiagnosis of Colon Cancer
When patients visit the doctor to be tested for colon cancer, there are several tests physicians may use to determine whether their patient is sick. According to the National Cancer Institute, the following tests may be used to determine whether a patient has colon cancer:
- Fecal Occult Blood Test
- Double Contrast Barium Enema
- Virtual Colonoscopy
While all of the aforementioned tests can help determine whether a patient has colorectal cancer, which test the doctor chooses can be important. Choosing the right test is an important part of accurately diagnosing a patient's cancer. Doctors may choose a given test for a variety of reasons, including age, medical and family history, insurance coverage, and whether sedation is necessary. In some cases, it may be necessary for physicians to perform more than one type of test when the initial results aren't clear.
Doctor's may have acted negligently if they failed to order one of the aforementioned tests in response to a patient's symptoms, failed to accurately read the test results, or failed to order a second test after the unclear results from the first test. A doctor's negligence can lead to a misdiagnosis of their patient's colon cancer, increasing the risk of it spreading to other regions of the body. In these instances, their patient may be able to receive compensation for any additional damages caused by their physician's misdiagnosis.
Is Your Bowel Cancer Misdiagnosis Grounds for a Lawsuit?
In order to have a valid medical malpractice lawsuit, the patient whose cancer was misdiagnosed must be able to prove that their physician's care fell below that of another reasonably qualified doctor in the same practice area. A misdiagnosis resulting from negligence, however, does not necessarily constitute grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Showing that a physician's negligence caused them to misdiagnose their patient's cancer is not the only factor involved in determining the validity of a medical malpractice lawsuit. Patients whose colorectal cancer was misdiagnosed must also prove that their misdiagnosis caused an adverse outcome. For instance, if a patient's cancer is misdiagnosed, but remains in its earliest stage upon being identified, they would not have grounds for a lawsuit as no further damage was suffered. If, however, a patient's cancer is initially misdiagnosed, and it advances to a more harmful stage, they may be able to recoup compensation for any hardships they are forced to endure.
Don't Hesitate to Contact a Colon Cancer Delayed Diagnosis Lawyer
Patients who have been forced to endure severe hardships following a misdiagnosis of colon cancer should not hesitate to contact a skilled lawyer. In New York, there is a strict time limit put on medical malpractice claims, known as the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is a law that limits the amount of time injured patients have to file a lawsuit. Failure to file a claim before the statute expires can result in patients being forever barred from receiving compensation for the damages their doctor's misdiagnosis may have caused. As a result, it is in the best interest of malpractice victims to retain a lawyer with experience handling colorectal cancer cases. The medical malpractice attorneys at Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool have been defending the rights of misdiagnoses victims and their families for over 50 years. We understand the emotional and financial hardships placed on patients and their families following a misdiagnosis of cancer. Our lawyers are committed to pursuing maximum compensation for any damages the victim may have suffered.
Have you or someone you love suffered from colon cancer? Was the cancer initially misdiagnosed? If so, you may be able to receive compensation for any damages your physician's misdiagnosis caused. To see what legal options are available, call 212-406-1700 or contact us online. All consultations with Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool are free of charge.