Medical misdiagnosis: What you need to know to protect your loved ones

When you go to a doctor because something isn’t feeling right, you should expect excellent care, diagnosis, treatment and ultimately positive results.

But sometimes, the care that you receive is marred by mistakes by medical professionals, from misdiagnosed illnesses to conditions that are simply missed by doctors and hospitals.

That’s when you need a lawyer to help you fight for damages from medical professionals who have not done their due diligence in protecting your health and well-being.

These kinds of misdiagnosis cases happen far too often in our nation.

Image credit: © iStockphoto.com/KLH49

Recently, a Delaware County woman and her family won a jury verdict of $5.35 million when “her dermatologist failed to timely diagnose a lesion on her cheek that turned out to be cancer and resulted in severe deformity of half of her face,”¬† according to a story last week in The Legal Intelligencer.

The woman went to her doctor in October 2005 and showed the facial lesion to him, the story said, but he suggested a “watch and wait” approach because it appeared to be a benign cyst. The woman saw a second doctor the following spring when the cyst had grown. A biopsy later found that the mass was indeed a cancerous liposarcoma and surgeons attempted to remove it in July 2006, but not all of it could be removed.

The woman later had to undergo radiation therapy, other serious treatments and multiple facial reconstructive surgeries due to the misdiagnosed cancer, according to the story.

This case clearly shows the seriousness of an improperly diagnosed medical condition.

If the doctor had originally responded to the woman’s concerns about the lesion by ordering a biopsy or taking a more aggressive approach to her treatment, it is likely that her cancer treatment could have started much sooner and left her with fewer serious health complications.

When a failure to properly and fully diagnose a dangerous medical condition means a delay in treatment of more than six months, it often drastically changes the options and treatments available to medical professionals to help a patient.

Such delays can ultimately mean the difference between life and death for patients, especially with conditions such as cancer, which can quickly spread if unabated by aggressive treatment.

A classic case for such damages can occur when a patient goes to a doctor for a routine physical as part of applying for a job. A tiny spot might appear on a related chest X-ray, but it is missed by accident because the X-rays were read by a medical technician halfway around the world as part of a cost-savings program.

Later, the patient goes to their doctor and learns that they have a cancerous growth that went undetected.

Had the cancer been noticed six months before, the prognosis would have been much better. It could have been smaller, more treatable and ultimately curable.

Now, the cancer could be metastasized and presents the patient with an unfortunate death sentence, all because the original diagnosis or condition was missed.

Yes, mistakes do happen in medical treatment, but it’s just not acceptable.

As a patient, you have a legal right to monetary awards for damages and pain and suffering due to medical errors and mistakes so that doctors, hospitals and other medical practitioners can be held accountable for their actions.

While mistakes can happen, they simply should not happen and our legal system is there to allow plaintiffs who have been severely injured in such cases to recover significant damages for their pain and suffering.

If you or a loved one is misdiagnosed or not properly diagnosed for a serious, life-threatening medical condition, we urge you to contact one of our skilled personal injury attorneys to fight for you in court and collect every dollar that you deserve for your injuries.

At MyPhillyLawyer, we’ll help you, counsel you, fight for you, care for you and represent you every single step of the way.

We are here for you, 100%, when losing isn’t an option.