It's likely that everyone in North Carolina has somehow been impacted by a cancer diagnosis, whether it was their own or that of a loved one. Understanding how difficult it is to hear news about cancer, it's almost unimaginable how challenging it must be to find out that a trusted physician failed to diagnose the disease.
A recently released medical study indicates that most medical malpractice suits filed against radiologists are for failures to diagnose breast cancer after conducting a mammogram. Specifically, they didn't notice or detect a "lesion" on when conducting scans and, as a result, didn't refer patients for necessary cancer treatment.
Another issue exposed in the study is that mammograms may not always be the best way to identify breast cancer. Some patients have dense tissue that makes it more difficult to spot lesions. These are instances in which it may be best to suggest other methods of cancer detection.
Of course, receiving a cancer diagnosis is never good news, but noticing the disease as early as possible is critical in the success or failure of medical treatments. Radiologists have a very prominent role in helping patients discover cancer early and pursue the treatments that are most likely to be successful.
Unless a patient is a physician, it seems unlikely that he or she will have the knowledge to verify a doctor's interpretation of important test results. This is one reason why patients have to right to pursue compensation for the damage caused by a negligent diagnosis. Although a legal claim will not reverse a missed diagnosis, it can help individuals gain the financial support they need to feel whole once again.
Source: DotMed, "Radiologists see most malpractice suits for mammography," Loren Bonner, Feb. 6, 2013
- To learn more about medical malpractice claims, please visit our North Carolina failure to diagnose cancer page.