Whenever someone goes to the doctor, they have faith that this person, who has spent years studying the human body, will be able to accurately diagnose them so that they can live a long, healthy, and comfortable life. Sadly, doctors do make serious mistakes that can put their patients lives in danger and in many cases, this involves a total failure to diagnose a life-threatening condition.
Lung Cancer: The Facts
Lung cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed forms of cancer. In fact, 14% of all new cancer cases each year involve the lungs. In addition this fact, lung cancer is:
- The leading cause of cancer-related deaths in both men and women.
- If caught in the early stages the patient has a 55% survival rate.
- Only 15% of all cases are caught in the early stages.
- Research has shown that around 93% of all cases are caused by smoking.
- The majority of patients are 60-years-old or older.
Some of the symptoms which should indicate to a physician that further testing is needed are:
- Chronic cough
- Coughing up blood
- Chest pain
- Unexpected weight loss
- Chronic chest infections like pneumonia or bronchitis
- Shortness of breath
While each of these symptoms could absolutely be caused by another disease process, they should be taken seriously and all health conditions should be ruled out. Yet time and time again, doctors seem to miss these obvious signs, which leads to medical malpractice lawsuits.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Malpractice occurs when a medical professional provides a patient with care that does not meet the accepted standard of care for their particular medical condition.
For example, if a doctor notes that a patient has a chronic cough but doesn’t recommend x-rays, a CT scan, or give a referral to a specialist, this wouldn’t meet the accepted standard of care. It also means that a patient is likely to remain undiagnosed or incorrectly diagnosed for some time.
Is Medical Malpractice Common?
Yes, is it. It has been found that around 160,000 deaths are caused by diagnosis errors every year. This is often because a delay in the correct diagnosis means that the patients fails to receive the correct treatment in time. In lung cancer cases, every minute counts and a failure to diagnose can result in the need for treatments that would have otherwise been unnecessary and, ultimately, death.
What Rights Do Patients Have?
When a doctor fails to uphold the standard of care, they open themselves up to medical malpractice lawsuits.
These lawsuits exist for several reasons:
- To ensure that the patient they injured is able to obtain the monetary compensation they need and deserve.
- To provide the plaintiff with a way to seek justice.
- To remind doctors of their responsibility and hopefully ensure that, in the future, they will make better choices.
Medical malpractice lawsuits can be filed by either the patient themselves or if they have passed away from lung cancer, their loved ones.
What Kind of Compensation Is Available?
Plaintiffs can obtain compensation for a number of losses, such as:
Lung cancer treatments typically involve months of radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery, not to mention dozens of medications, x-rays, CT scans, hospital stays, bloodwork, and doctor’s visits. None of these are inexpensive – even with health insurance.
Most patients need to take weeks or months off of work to get the treatment they need and because they are simply not well enough to do their job.
Physical Pain & Suffering
Many of the treatments that lung cancer patients undergo cause serious discomfort and pain. It can also leave a patient with scarring, disfigurement, and physical impairments that require additional care for the remainder of their lives.
As if being diagnosed with cancer isn’t bad enough, the knowledge that it could have been caught sooner is enough to cause severe depression and anxiety.
If the claim has been filed by the surviving family of the patient, they may be able to recover compensation for funeral and burial expenses, loss of inheritance, and loss of consortium in addition to the other benefits.
How Do I Know If I Have A Valid Claim?
The best way to determine if you have a strong case is to contact a lawyer who is experienced in handling medical malpractice claims. During an initial consultation, the lawyer will review your records and then inform you of any legal options that are available to you.
Yes, Our Team Can Help
Our firm, which was founded in 1989, has helped thousands of clients get back on track through legal action, including those who have been harmed because of a failure to diagnose cancer. When we work with a client, we do everything in our power to thoroughly investigate their case and fight to get them all the money they deserve through either a settlement or verdict.
Can You Help Even If I’m A Smoker?
Yes! While it is true that smoking greatly increases the chances of a patient being diagnosed with lung cancer, it doesn’t change the fact that their doctors is responsible for providing them with adequate care. In fact, a history of smoking should be a clear indication to a doctor that they need to investigate many of the symptoms of lung cancer sooner rather than later.
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