As patients, we rely on healthcare providers to use their knowledge and expertise in making a good-faith effort to assess and diagnose issues related to our well-being, thoroughly. Failing to properly examine and evaluate symptoms can lead to a brain tumor misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, the result of which can include serious injury, decreased quality of life, and even lower life expectancy.
If this has happened to you or a loved one, you may be asking yourself, What are my options for a brain tumor misdiagnosis? Given the advanced diagnostic tools and training now available to healthcare providers, failure to recognize symptoms of a brain tumor may be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. The award-winning team at O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble can help.
What Is a Brain Tumor?
Approximately 90,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with a primary brain tumor every year. A brain tumor is a growth of abnormal cells that are specifically formed in the brain and other parts of the central nervous system (CNS) such as along the spine or cranial nerves. Brain tumors fall into one of two big categories:
- Malignant (cancerous) brain tumors
- Non-malignant (non-cancerous or benign) brain tumors
These can be defined further to include more than 100 different types of primary brain and CNS tumors. Brain and other CNS tumors are the fifth most common cancer and can be one of the most difficult to treat. A brain tumor can impact the control of many bodily functions including both physical and cognitive abilities such as movements, awareness, thought patterns, memory, speech, and more. The sooner a brain tumor is diagnosed, the more likely it is that treatment can achieve some level of results, which is why it is so crucial that your healthcare provider makes that diagnosis in a reasonable timeframe.
Symptoms of a Brain Tumor
Like any illness or medical condition, in the early stages, symptoms can be minimal. For example, if you come down with a cold, it may only start as a sniffle or two, but eventually, you end up bedridden with an endless supply of tissues and cough drops beside you. Similarly, the early signs of a brain tumor may be difficult to detect, but as it grows, symptoms may become more prevalent. The symptoms of a brain tumor may vary and are highly dependent on the tumor's location in the brain, its size, and how fast it grows. Symptoms may include:
- Persistent or frequent headaches;
- Undiagnosed seizures;
- Changes in behavior or personality;
- Difficulty speaking or finding words;
- Loss of hearing, vision, or smell;
- Weakness or numbness in one area of the body;
- Confusion or disorientation;
- Dizziness or difficulty balancing;
- Unexplained nausea or vomiting;
- Muscle fatigue or weakness; and
- Memory loss.
Many other symptoms could also pertain to a brain tumor, including abnormal eye movements, loss of appetite, slurred speech, and weakness or drooping of one side of the face. There are certain symptoms of a brain tumor that may constitute a medical emergency such as numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg, trouble speaking or understanding what is being said, and sudden vision changes, or severe headaches.
What Are My Options for a Brain Tumor Misdiagnosis?
If you or a loved one experienced a brain tumor misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, it is important to understand whether your healthcare provider should have reasonably known of the tumor. If they failed to act appropriately in the best interest of your health and well-being, you may have a valid claim for medical malpractice, in which case you may have the option to file a claim against the healthcare provider and seek compensation for the results of their negligent behavior. Contact a medical malpractice lawyer in New Jersey today to ensure your rights are protected.
What Constitutes a Medical Malpractice in New Jersey?
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider fails to provide the standard of care that would have been expected from another professional with similar experience and education in the same situation. This is different from the standard of care for most personal injury cases, which apply the same logic to any reasonable person, rather than a trained professional. Failure to achieve this standard can result in serious adverse complications. In order to have a valid claim for medical malpractice in New Jersey, these four elements must be satisfied by the facts of the case:
Duty of Care
There was an actual doctor or healthcare provider / patient relationship. In some cases, the healthcare provider may not be a physician, but in the case of a brain tumor, they likely are. This relationship establishes a duty of care.
Breach of Duty
The duty of care was breached by the negligent action or inaction of the healthcare provider. For example, the provider may have been aware of the symptoms you were experiencing and failed to order adequate diagnostics to identify the problem.
The breach of duty resulted in harm to the patient. In the case of a brain tumor, without a proper diagnosis, the patient likely did not receive timely treatment that could have made a difference in the outcome of the brain tumor.
Actual harm was suffered. This means that the patient suffered physically, emotionally, or financially because of the misdiagnosis. If actual harm occurred, the patient may be entitled to compensation for applicable medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress and more.
Choosing a Medical Malpractice Attorney in New Jersey
O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble have a long history of successful medical malpractice cases that include multiple verdicts in excess of $20 million for our clients who have been wronged by healthcare providers. If you are wondering “What are my options for a brain tumor misdiagnosis?,” we are here to help you determine the best course forward while ensuring you understand the true value of your case. We work hard to ensure that you are comfortable with the legal process and satisfied with your results. Contact us to schedule your free case consultation and learn more about your legal right to compensation.