Failure to Diagnose Colon Cancer
The good news is that most colorectal cancers more commonly called colon cancers are slow growing and take years to develop and, when detected early, this form of cancer is highly curable. Screening tests, such as colonoscopies and flexible sigmoidoscopies, are excellent tools to detect and prevent colorectal cancer because they identify polyps, which can be removed before they become cancerous.
Failure to diagnose colon cancer in the early stages, however, can be life-threatening. Most medical experts recommend that both men and women over 50, with no risk factors, have regular colonoscopies so that polyps and any signs of cancer can be dealt with quickly and effectively. Those with certain risk factors such as family history of colorectal cancer, history of bowel disease such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s Disease, race (African American and Ashkenazi Jews are at higher risk), Type 2 diabetes and diet may need to be screened even earlier.
How Does Failure to Diagnose Occur?
Sadly, many people are put off by stories of the prep necessary prior for proper administration of these screening tests and never follow through on the test. While doctors can certainly quell a patient’s concerns about the prep or the actual colonoscopy, they can’t force a patient to show up. The doctor’s responsibility, however, lies in his or her recommendations and diagnosis. Failure to diagnose colorectal cancer is medical malpractice.
Questions to consider when determining if colon cancer is the result of medical malpractice include the following:
– Did the physician fail to recommend a colonoscopy or other screening tests?
– Were the results of the colonoscopy properly evaluated by the physician?
– Were any polyps detected and properly removed to deter the development of colorectal cancer?
– Were symptoms of colorectal cancer recognized?
Cancer — it’s one of those words that stops most of us in our tracks and colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer found in men and women. The numbers are certainly sobering: The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2013, there will be more than 142,000 new cases of colon and rectal cancers combined. With numbers like these, it’s difficult not to go to that “worst case scenario” place in our minds nor imagine months of suffering through medical treatments. But colorectal cancer is among the most curable, preventable and treatable cancers when proper screening tests are recommended, administered and interpreted.
Early Diagnosis is the Key
With many diseases or conditions, time plays a vital role in potential outcomes. This is especially true in the treatment of colorectal cancer. The medical experts agree that the earlier cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better chance the patient has to recover and live a normal life. When a diagnosis is missed or delayed, the disease has time to grow and spread which may cause the patient to need multiple surgeries, painful and prolonged treatments, or to prematurely lose his or her battle with cancer.
A doctor is not responsible for a patient having cancer. But, a physician can be responsible for cancer misdiagnosis and the consequences of cancer misdiagnosis. When a physician fails to diagnose colorectal cancer in a timely manner, a patient is robbed of the ability to fight the disease in its early stages.
Experiencing cancer is emotionally, physically and psychologically traumatic under any circumstances, but knowing that a cancer misdiagnosis was responsible for the progression of the disease only adds to the anguish. The lawyers at O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble can, however, hold the person or people responsible for the failure to diagnose cancer accountable for their actions.
In our own medical treatment, we may question what went wrong, but we often don’t question where the fault lies and, equally important, could this error have been prevented? As patients, we seek the advice and professional guidance of those we expect to have greater knowledge and expertise in a particular field. But when something does go wrong and we are robbed of the opportunity to seek out lifesaving treatments, it is crucial to seek the sage advice of trusted counsel.
We Can Help
At O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble, we are well versed on the particular circumstances unique to failure to diagnose cancer. The important piece for you to remember is that you—as a patient or representative of a loved one—are entitled to a very specific standard of care by your physician and related medical personnel.
We urge you to consult with us as soon as you suspect you have been subject to medical negligence. We don’t expect you to come to us knowing all the answers—that’s our job. We are continually educating ourselves and keeping up to date with the most current legal changes and news so that we may better serve your needs. Our malpractice attorneys have the experience, expertise and breadth of knowledge to pursue failure to diagnose cancer cases of merit.
At O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble, we will work diligently on your behalf to provide you with excellent representation. Though damages awarded to the victim of a medical malpractice case vary by situation, rest assured that our attorneys will always strive to seek the maximum allowable. After a thorough review of your case, together, we will determine the most appropriate damages to seek. Compensatory damages include recovery of financial loss in the past as well as an estimate of future loss. Damages may also cover emotional issues such as reduced enjoyment of life due to a disability or loss. Pain and suffering covers the physical and mental distress suffered because of a delay in diagnosis or a failure to diagnose colorectal cancer
O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble is one of the most-established and best-known medical malpractice law firms in New Jersey. If you feel that you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice, we invite you to speak to one of our excellent medical malpractice attorneys at O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble. Contact us at 1-908-928-9200, 1-800-586-5817, or Contact us with our Online Form. The initial consultation is free.