You rely on your doctor’s expertise and judgment to protect your health. When that judgment fails you, though, it can easily delay the diagnosis of serious conditions like cancer. Those delays could allow your condition to worsen while it is left untreated.
What might cause delayed diagnosis of cancer?
Doctors have a duty to care for their patients However, some doctors misjudge a patient’s condition despite their wealth of knowledge, and some studies indicate that 76% of missed and delayed cancer diagnoses are caused by failures in clinical judgment. How can failures of physicians’ judgment delay cancer diagnosis?
- Failure to order necessary tests—Cancer patients may undergo a wide variety of different medical tests before diagnosis, but doctors that dismiss those tests as unnecessary or refuse to order a test when a patient’s symptoms merit it cut patients off from the next step in their treatment.
- Failure to refer the patient to the correct specialist—Patients often rely on a referral so that they can speak to the specialist who can best treat their condition. Unfortunately, if a physician does not refer their patient—or refers them to the wrong specialist—it can cost them valuable time.
- Ignoring a family history of cancer—Sometimes, doctors fail to consider the impact that family history can have on a patient’s health. If that family history involves cancer, they may discount the possibility of cancer in patients who otherwise may not have been at risk.
These failures of judgment often mean that patients wait longer for a proper diagnosis, which can cause their cancer to grow and become harder to treat.
If a doctor failed to uphold their duty to you as a patient and delayed the diagnosis of your cancer, you may be eligible for compensation for the harm you have suffered.