Failure to Diagnose Lymphoma & Lymphoma Misdiagnosis
Lymphoma is a type of cancer that affects the lymphatic system. It occurs when a white blood cell, also known as a lymphocyte, develops a mutation.
This mutation causes the lymphocyte to rapidly multiply and become diseased.
As a result, different areas of the lymphatic system start to swell, including the lymph nodes, spleen, and liver.
Types of Lymphoma
There are several types of lymphoma that can occur in the body, including the following:
- Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia,
- Cutaneous B-cell Lymphoma,
- Cutaneous T-cell Lymphoma,
- Hodgkin’s Lymphoma,
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and
- Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia.
Since each type has its own required treatments, receiving a lymphoma misdiagnosis can have deadly consequences. The most accurate way to diagnose lymphoma is to have a comprehensive set of tests done to check for lymphoma cells.
This usually involves biopsies of infected tissue from your lymph nodes or bone marrow, blood tests, and imaging.
Common Symptoms of Lymphoma
One of the reasons that lymphoma is difficult to diagnose is because it mimics other diseases. This includes the symptoms associated with the illness, such as:
- Itchy skin,
- Chest pain,
- Night sweats,
- Trouble breathing,
- Swollen lymph nodes,
- Swelling in the abdomen, and
- Unexplainable weight loss.
There are also several risk factors that may lead to the development of lymphoma. For example, lymphoma is most likely to develop in men above the age of 55. However, some types of lymphoma, such as Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, are more common in those younger than 30.
Another major risk factor is a family history of lymphoma or other immune system diseases.
How Lymphoma Is Treated
The goal of lymphoma treatment is to destroy as many cancerous cells as possible. As a result, many of the treatments for lymphoma vary in intensity. Common lymphoma treatments include:
- Chemotherapy—this type of treatment involves drugs administered through the veins or as a pill to destroy cancer cells.
- Radiation therapy—often reserved for more serious cases of lymphoma, radiation therapy uses high doses of radiation to destroy the DNA in cancer cells.
- Bone marrow transplants—also known as a stem cell transplant, this treatment injects stem cells into your blood from another part of the body or a donor to rebuild bone marrow.
- CAR T-cell therapy—this is a more specialized treatment that engineers your body’s T-cells to fight cancer before injecting them back into the body.
If you receive a lymphoma misdiagnosis, these treatments can significantly weaken the body, leading to other illnesses. In addition, the type of treatment needed depends on the stage of your condition and your personal preferences.
A large number of medical malpractice lawsuits stem from the misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of a medical condition, illness, or injury.
When a doctor’s diagnosis error leads to incorrect treatment, delayed treatment, or no treatment at all, a patient’s condition can be made much worse, and they may even die.
That being said, a mistake in diagnosis by itself is not enough to sustain a medical malpractice lawsuit.
It’s widely recognized that early diagnosis of many types of cancer can lead to much more effective treatment and lower mortality rates.
Doctors have to be aware of the possibility of cancer, taking into account your family history and environmental and lifestyle factors, when they examine you in relation to a wide variety of symptoms.
Can Lymphoma Be Misdiagnosed?
Medical negligence claims involving cancer often involve one of the following factors:
- Failure to diagnose – This can be due to your doctor either missing or misinterpreting your symptoms or misinterpreting test results.
- Delay in diagnosis – This can be caused by delayed referrals to specialists, delays in carrying out a biopsy or failure to act quickly enough in reaction to test results, as well as many other factors.
- Misdiagnosis – some patients are diagnosed as having cancer when they do not. This can lead to having to endure difficult and painful treatments, such as chemotherapy, unnecessarily.
The law does not hold doctors legally responsible for all diagnostic errors. Instead, patients usually must prove three things in order to prevail in a medical malpractice lawsuit based on a wrong diagnosis:
- A doctor-patient relationship existed.
- The doctor was negligent — that is, did not provide treatment in a reasonably skillful and competent manner.
- The doctor’s negligence caused actual injury to the patient.
Most medical malpractice cases hinge on either the second or third element (or both) — was the doctor negligent and did that negligence harm the patient?
Can I Be Compensated For a Lymphoma Misdiagnosis?
You can claim compensation for the following things if they are a result of your injury:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of earnings
- Medical and nursing care costs
- Special equipment needed to carry out daily activities and any costs involved in adapting your home
If you’ve suffered as a result of misdiagnosis of, or failure to diagnose Lymphoma, and someone has been negligent, you may be able to make a medical negligence compensation claim.
Contact an attorney at the law office of O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble for a free no obligation consultation. You can contact us online or give us a call.
Talk to a New Jersey Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today
Being diagnosed with lymphoma or any type of cancer can be a scary experience. For this reason, your doctor should put every effort forward to make sure that the diagnosis is correct.
If you have been misdiagnosed with lymphoma and gone through treatments for cancer, contact the law office of O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble for a free, no obligation consultation. We are happy to serve clients living in Newark, Springfield, Woodbridge, and surrounding New Jersey communities.