The Dangers of Delayed Diagnosis

Though we may like to believe medical mistakes never happen, they can and they do. Sometimes mistakes are the result of negligence or wrongdoing on the part of a doctor, nurse or hospital, in which case the victim may be entitled to compensation under medical malpractice law. Delay in diagnosis is one type of medical error that can have devastating consequences, including unnecessary complications or premature death. In cases of delayed diagnosis, an experienced Orlando injury attorney can protect the patient’s rights, or if the delay resulted in the patient’s untimely death, pursue a wrongful death claim on behalf of the victim’s family.

Delays in Diagnosing Lung Cancer

In an article recently published in the Journal of Thoracic Disease, authors Peter M. Ellis and Rachel Vandermeer concluded that lung cancer patients experience “substantial delays” between when they develop symptoms and when they begin treatment. They recommend that awareness about lung cancer symptoms be promoted and that “rapid assessment clinics for patients with suspected lung cancers” be developed and evaluated. Moreover, research in the United Kingdom published in 2001 found that out of 28 lung cancer patients, 14 had abnormalities missed in early x-rays. Given the survival rates for lung cancer—70 percent to 80 percent for Stage 0, 50 percent for Stage 1, 30 percent for Stage 2, 15 percent for Stage 3, and less than 2 percent for Stage 4—catching lung cancer early can significantly increase a patient’s chances for survival.

A knowledgeable Orlando injury lawyer can determine if the delay in diagnosing your lung cancer may have been the result of medical malpractice.

Delays in Diagnosing Pancreatic Cancer

According to research presented at the 2009 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium, it is not uncommon for pancreatic cancer patients to experience a delay in diagnosis of six or more months after they start showing symptoms. Any delay in diagnosing pancreatic cancer, which has the lowest survival rate of all major cancers, can adversely affect a patient’s prognosis.

If you experienced a delay in receiving your pancreatic cancer diagnosis, a qualified Orlando injury attorney can help.

Delays in Diagnosing HIV

Research shows that approximately one-third of patients diagnosed with HIV are diagnosed late enough that their illness progresses to AIDS within one year. Treatment with antiretroviral therapy helps prevent HIV from advancing to AIDS, making it important for patients to be diagnosed with HIV early on. Moreover, recent research by the National Institutes of Health indicates that HIV therapy cuts the risk of transmitting the disease to a sexual partner by 96 percent. Therefore, early diagnosis of HIV is important not only for patients, but also for their sexual partners. Doctors are supposed to rule out the most severe possibilities first when attempting to diagnose a patient, and if your HIV diagnosis was delayed by negligence or wrongdoing, you may have a medical malpractice claim.

If you or a loved one’s prognosis was adversely affected by a delay in diagnosis, contact an experienced Orlando injury lawyer today to learn about your legal rights and whether you may have grounds filing for a medical malpractice or wrongful death lawsuit.