Rhode Island Cancer Misdiagnosis and Screening Attorneys
Did your doctor fail to diagnose your cancer or misdiagnosis it for another medical condition? If so, the Rhode Island medical malpractice lawyers at Crowe & Harris, LLP might be able to help you pursue the financial compensation you deserve. Medical providers are supposed to provide dependable services. You trust that they will perform adequate screenings and provide the correct diagnosis. Unfortunately, when they make an error, it could mean the difference between life and death, especially when it comes to cancer.
Misdiagnosis causes approximately 40,000 to 80,000 deaths every year in the United States. In a study of 55,000 medical malpractice claims, it was discovered that 37.8% involved the misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of cancer. When a healthcare professional fails to determine that a patient’s symptoms are due to cancer, the cancer can metastasize and cause more harm. Eventually, treatment is no longer an option, and the chance of survival plummets. You deserve financial compensation for the suffering you endured.
When you work with Crowe & Harris, LLP , you’ll have an entire team of skilled professionals working on your behalf to determine the best strategy for your case. Our legal team will be by your side to fight for justice. To learn about your legal options and to schedule your free consultation, call us today at (617) 404-3417.
How Do Doctors Screen and Diagnose Cancer?
When you’re referring to a misdiagnosis of cancer, you must first understand the screening process and how a doctor detects cancer in the first place. There are various forms of cancer that can cause severe symptoms and death. Fortunately, modern technology allows for routine testing to check for signs of cancerous or precancerous cells. With early detection and treatment, people can go on to live long and healthy lives.
Depending on specific risk factors, such as gender, age, and family medical history, medical providers can detect cancer by performing a range of tests, such as:
- Prostate exam
- Electrocardiogram (EKG)
If there’s abnormal cells or a mass, the doctor might refer you for further testing. The best way to indicate whether cancer is present is by performing a biopsy of the tissue. It’s crucial that you schedule an appointment the second you notice unusual symptoms, especially if you have a history of cancer or it runs in your family. Preventative medicine is the best way to avoid developing a fatal disease.
Common Causes of Improper Cancer Diagnosis and Screening
Although medical professionals have experience in their field of study, they can still make errors. Failing to diagnose cancer can lead to an unfortunate prognosis for the patient. They might require painful treatment and suffer a great deal physically and emotionally. The doctor should be held liable if they were negligent in their standard of care.
Common causes of delayed or improper diagnosis of cancer include:
- Improperly handled, read, or interpreted specimen samples
- A tumor isn’t staged correctly
- Cancerous cells are overlooked from a biopsy
- Failure to order specific testing despite symptoms that could indicate cancer
- Lack of screening for higher-risk patients
- Mass that’s diagnosed as non-cancerous
- Misread imaging results
- Failure to refer to a specialist for additional evaluation
There are some situations where the doctor can’t control certain factors. For example, they could do everything they’re supposed to do for their patient but receive the wrong information from a lab employee. Or, a piece of equipment they use for screening malfunctions. If this results in a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, the doctor would not be responsible. The fault would shift to another person or facility.
Why Negligence Is Important in Medical Malpractice
It’s not enough to show that your doctor made a mistake. Sometimes human error doesn’t necessarily mean negligence existed. Negligence refers to the failure of someone to exercise a reasonable degree of care to avoid harming another.
To prove someone associated with your cancer diagnosis and screening was negligent, you must provide evidence of the following elements:
- Duty: The at-fault party owed you a reasonable duty of care to prevent harm;
- Breach of duty: They breached their duty;
- Cause in fact: If it weren’t for their action or inaction, you wouldn’t have suffered;
- Proximate cause: Their breach was the direct cause of your misdiagnosis; and
- Damages: You incurred damages.
If you can provide adequate evidence of the elements above, you might recover the maximum monetary award available. All doctors, nurses, and other medical staff must undergo education, training, and licensing. Medical facilities are supposed to perform thorough background checks on all new employees to ensure they have the necessary qualifications to perform their jobs.
If you discover a hospital, private practice, or another type of business hired unlicensed or inexperienced healthcare professionals, you could hold them liable for negligence.
Compensation Available in a Medical Malpractice Case
When you suffer due to another person’s negligence, you might incur various damages. Damages are losses associated with an injury. They include actual expenses (economic damages) and intangible losses (non-economic damages). You could attempt to recover compensation for them by filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party or a claim with their medical malpractice insurance.
When you file an insurance claim or lawsuit for compensation of your damages, you could seek any of the following:
- Medical bills
- Future medical costs
- Lost wages and future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Out of pocket expenses
- Emotional distress
- Disfigurement or disability
- Loss of consortium
You might also be entitled to expenses associated with traveling to and from your doctor’s appointments, the total cost of cancer treatment, and additional losses caused by the misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. Crowe & Harris, LLP will thoroughly review your case to determine a fair monetary value. We’ll look through every piece of evidence to ensure you receive an insurance settlement that covers all your expenses.
What Happens if Improper Cancer Diagnosis and Screening Caused My Loved One’s Death?
If your loved one’s doctor failed to adequately screen or diagnose their form of cancer and they passed away, you might be entitled to compensation from a wrongful death lawsuit. In Rhode Island, the definition of wrongful death is the death of a person caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another individual or entity.
The only person allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit is the administrator or executor of the deceased’s estate. They’re responsible for following instructions in the will, finalizing any debts, and wrapping up the estate plan. Instead of compensation going towards family members or other individuals, it gets paid to the estate.
The available damages include:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Value of income the deceased would have earned if they survived
- Loss of guidance, care, advice, and services provided by the deceased to family members.
You might also be entitled to punitive damages if the jury finds the at-fault medical provider’s actions to be willful, wanton, malicious, or reckless. Instead of compensating a victim for their economic and non-economic damages, it’s a form of punishment against the liable party and aims to deter similar misconduct in the future. It’s a rare financial award, but if you can provide sufficient evidence during court proceedings, the jury might determine you deserve it.
The statute of limitations is a strict deadline you must follow if you wish to seek damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. There’s a three-year statute in Rhode Island. You only have three years from the date of your loved one’s death to sue the liable party; otherwise, you’ll lose your right to legal action.
Crowe & Harris, LLP Legal Fees and Costs
Our team of lawyers understands the financial burden you must already be facing. A misdiagnosis of cancer can lead to expensive medical treatment and associated costs. You might be undergoing chemotherapy, radiation, or surgical procedures. Over time, medical bills can add up and create a strain on patients and their families.
The last thing we want to do is add more stress to your life. That’s why we take medical malpractice cases on contingency. That means you won’t have to pay us upfront for legal representation. We don’t collect any legal fees unless we reach an insurance settlement agreement or favorable jury verdict in a lawsuit. If we lose your case, you don’t have to pay.
Additionally, we offer an initial consultation for free. There’s no risk in discussing the details of your improper cancer diagnosis or screening. We’ll be happy to review the information you provide and determine the best legal options moving forward.
Speak With a Dedicated Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today
At Crowe & Harris, LLP , we have recovered over half a billion dollars for injured clients throughout New England. Our legal team has 100 years of experience and knowledge to advocate for our clients’ rights. We’ll provide guidance and support throughout the entire process. You can depend on us to create an effective plan that meets your needs and goals.
If you were the victim of cancer misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, or improper screening, contact Crowe & Harris, LLP immediately. We’ll develop a strategy to recover the maximum financial award you need to heal and move forward with your life. Call (617) 404-3417 now.