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When Doctors Fail To Diagnose Colon Cancer

Cancer. This is one word that no patient wants to hear come out of their doctor’s mouth. Thankfully, researchers have aggressively searched for and tested out new treatments for the numerous forms of cancer and today, Americans have a better chance of beating this deadly disease than ever before. Still, thousands of cases that could have been successfully treated are discovered too late because of a mistake made by a doctor.  

Colon Cancer

Despite the fact that this type of cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S., many are unaware of how frequently colon cancer is diagnosed. But the reality is that nearly one in twenty men and women will be diagnosed with this disease in their lifetime.diagram of the colon and other parts of Gi tract

Colon cancer is easily detected and can be treated, however, the chance of survival is greatly increased when the cancer is caught early on before a tumor has the chance to grow and spread. Yet most adults between the ages of 50 – 75 are not up-to-date with the types of screening recommended. While some chose not to have the screening because they are uncomfortable with the manner in which it is performed, others simply don’t know what has been recommended by the American Cancer Society because their doctor hasn’t informed them. In some cases, the patient is even showing clinical signs and symptoms, yet they remain undiagnosed.

What Are Common Symptoms?

Colon cancer is found in – you got it – the colon, which is part of the large intestine. What researchers have found is that most malignant tumors start out as small benign growths which are frequently referred to as polyps. Typically, these polyps can be easily removed before they turn into colon cancer.  Common signs that a polyp or cancer may be present include:

  • bleeding when stool is passed
  • a change in the bowel being passed – increase in diarrhea, constipation, or even the shape of the bowel
  • abdominal pain
  • weight loss
  • fatigue

While these could also be an indication of other health conditions, it is important for doctors to rule out all causes, especially when the potential diagnoses could be a life threatening condition.

Failure To Diagnose: A Form Of Medical Malpractice

What many patients who are diagnosed later than they should have been don’t realize, is that their doctor may be held legally liable if they failed to follow the commonly accepted standard of medical care.

For example, if a patient presents with blood in their stool, the accepted standard of care is to perform additional testing including taking a stool sample, bloodwork, and performing a colonoscopy. If the doctor is unable to perform any of the testing themselves, the responsible thing to do is refer the patient to a specialist. If the doctor fails to do any of these and the patient is later diagnosed with colon cancer has spread to other parts of the body, they may be able to file a lawsuit.

How Do I Find Out What The Standard Of Care Is?

If you believe that you may have been harmed by the information provided by or the lack of information provided by your doctor and that they failed to diagnose your condition in a timely manner, the best thing you can do is contact a medical malpractice attorney. An attorney can let you know if it is likely that you have a strong case. You already have enough to deal with, let an attorney assist you by performing a thorough investigation, consulting with medical experts, speaking with the insurance companies, handling the paperwork, and fighting for your rights.

Why File?

There are several reasons to file a medical malpractice lawsuit:medical records of a patient with colon cancer

  1. Compensation: A patient should never have to suffer financially due to medical treatments that wouldn’t have been necessary if they had been diagnosed earlier. Lawsuits can provide compensation for medical expenses, lost income, physical pain and suffering, and emotional trauma.
  2. To Help Others: Filing a lawsuit sends a message to the defendant – regardless of the outcome of the complaint – that their poor decision and willingness to put others at risk won’t be tolerated. Future patients may not face the same outcome because the plaintiff took the steps to remind the physician of their duty.

How Much Is My Case Worth?

No two medical malpractice cases are exactly the same and the losses sustained by each plaintiff vary widely. In order to determine what your case might be worth, we need to consult with you and review your individual case. Then we can provide you with an estimate and let you know what the first steps may be.

You can be sure, however, that we will fight to obtain you the maximum amount possible through a settlement or successful verdict. To learn more about how we have helped past clients, view or verdicts and settlements page.

Has Your Firm Handled Many Medical Malpractice Cases?

Yes! Since the 1980’s we have helped thousands of New Yorkers get the compensation that they need after a doctor fails to diagnose their medical condition, such as breast, ovarian, or lung cancer in a timely manner.

Failing To Diagnose Colon Cancer Is Deadly

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