Cancers attacking people’s organs are among the deadliest forms of cancer you could develop. It can take quite some time before the condition reaches the point where a person has noticeable symptoms. A patient often doesn’t realize they have a health issue until cancer has started to spread.
Even then, their symptoms may be general and require extensive testing to diagnose correctly. Patients are entirely dependent on doctors to make sense of their situations. Imaging tests are crucial to the accurate diagnosis of conditions like pancreatic cancer.
Unfortunately, even when doctors order the proper imaging tests, they may overlook obvious signs of this deadly cancer in more than one-third of cases.
Diagnostic failures are a big issue for cancer patients
Anyone who doesn’t receive an accurate medical diagnosis for their health concerns will have particular challenges to overcome. They could undergo the wrong treatment or delay medical care long enough to limit their options.
In the case of cancer, a prompt diagnosis can be the difference between localized cancer and metastatic cancer which affects numerous parts of the body and requires systemic chemotherapy. Suppose a doctor orders the proper imaging test but fails to read the results accurately and overlooks the signs of pancreatic cancer. In that case, the patient could go many more months before they receive the correct diagnosis.
According to recent research, this happens in roughly 36% of the test performed. In a few tragic cases, doctors may only recognize the mistake after someone dies when a coroner conducts an autopsy.
Diagnostic mistakes are perhaps the most common form of medical malpractice. The chances are good that many people who experience diagnostic failures never discover the medical error made in their situation. However, if you become aware that your doctor misread your test results or if your family finds the mistake after losing someone, you may have grounds to pursue a medical malpractice claim.
Failing to follow the correct diagnostic protocol and harming a patient’s prognosis through that failure are significant oversights on the part of a doctor. Malpractice insurance may cover claims related to such a scenario, and the possibility exists for someone also to pursue a civil lawsuit. Understanding how frequently doctors make diagnostic mistakes could help you better protect yourself against medical malpractice.