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Indiana Medical Malpractice Lawyer Discusses the Failure to Timely Diagnosis Cancer Case

Guy DiMartino Oct. 31, 2014

Failure to Timely Diagnose Cancer Medical Malpractice Cases

The failure to timely diagnose a medical condition medical malpractice case is more common than you may think. We see cases where there has been a delay in diagnosing a patient's cancer and this delay negatively impacted the outcome of treatment. The typical scenario goes something like this: A 50 year old guy has to pee a lot and is having difficultly starting his stream. His doctor does a prostate exam and doesn't like what he feels so he orders a biopsy.

Where the Malpractice Begins

As a general rule we see two problems that cause a delay in cancer diagnosis medical malpractice cases:

  1. Breakdown in communication : In these cases the doctor orders the right test just like the doctor in this story. The problem occurs when the specialist or hospital fails to relay the results to the ordering physician. We have seen cases where the results are sent to ordering doctor and the office staff just puts them in the patient's file and the results are not relayed to the patient.

  2. Malpractice in the reading of the diagnostic test(s): Using the above example, the pathologist who reads the biopsy just misses the cancer cells that are on the slide and the biopsy is read as normal. The ordering physician relies on these results and tells the patient that everything is okay.

The Outcome

Many times the patient will go on with life thinking that everything is okay and then something will bring them back to the doctor whether it is increased symptoms or a follow-up rectal exam in the above example. In the breakdown in communication case, the doctor will review the file and either see that the report is not in the file or the abnormal report is in the file. In the misread case, another study will be performed and interpreted correctly. The doctor(s) will then review the previous study and see the condition on the study.

Timely Diagnosis increases the chances of a good outcome

The thing with most cancers is that the earlier the condition is diagnosed and treated the better the outcome. A delay in diagnose can mean the difference between life and death.

If you have a questions about a potential failure to timely diagnose cancer medical malpractice case, call our Indiana medical malpractice lawyer at or fill out the Internet consultation form.