Failure to Diagnose Cancer
Our site also provides a great deal of free information on Illinois medical malpractice which hopefully can guide your attorney search or aid your general knowledge of the law. This page discusses the failure to diagnose cancer.
In Illinois, medical malpractice claims are commonly filed against doctors for a failure to diagnose a medical problem. We often get calls from people pertaining to a doctor's failure to diagnose cancer. There are over 100 different types of cancer, but some of the more commonly undiagnosed types are:
- Breast cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Lung cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Prostate cancer; and
- Colon cancer
To have a case against a doctor for failure to diagnose, you must provide proof that you indeed saw the doctor, that the reason you went to see the doctor to begin with reasonably related to the cancer you now have (for instance, it would be unrelated if you saw the doctor because of knee pain, and then a few months later you found out that you had breast cancer, and you had no signs of the cancer at the time you saw this doctor), and that this failure related to a change in your condition.
Regarding this last point, typically a doctor is only liable to you if the difference in time between the missed diagnosis and the eventual diagnosis affected the end result of your condition (or a relative who had the unfortunate end result of death, for example). The standard time gap that effectuates this end result change is a six-month delay between the missed diagnosis and the eventual diagnosis. Though this is the standard from a scientific standpoint, it is not absolute. Factors such as the type of cancer diagnosed and the stage at which you would have been diagnosed versus the stage at which you were eventually diagnosed can affect this standard.
It is important to remember that in malpractice cases, it is not what could have happened to you because of an error in diagnosing you that is important, but what did happen. If you can't within a reasonable degree of medical certainty (shown through expert medical testimony) prove that had the doctor acted properly your eventual outcome would have been different you would have no case.
Suing a physician or other medical professional for failing to diagnose cancer is one of the most difficult, hard fought lawsuits to pursue, we think that it is imperative that any attorney you hire demonstrate a track record of success in similar cases and have reliable, credible experts who can review all of your relevant medical records. If you have any questions about Illinois medical malpractice laws or would like to find an attorney that can answer your questions or evaluate your case, please contact us at any time.