Cancer Misdiagnosis

Standing Up for Your Rights After Cancer Misdiagnosis

Experienced Cancer Misdiagnosis Lawyers in Michigan

Cancer is one of the most devastating diagnoses a family can receive. If a doctor fails to diagnose cancer in time or misdiagnoses cancer as something else, families can lose critical treatment time at a stage when every moment counts. While nothing can bring back critical treatment time lost due to a misdiagnosis, Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys can help your family seek justice. 

Our experienced cancer misdiagnosis lawyers help families throughout Michigan move forward with medical malpractice and other personal injury cases. Contact us today to schedule a free case review, or keep reading to learn more about cancer misdiagnoses.

How Do Cancer Misdiagnoses Happen?

Some cancers are more challenging to spot than others. Unfortunately, the rarest forms of cancer can be some of the hardest diseases to detect. Rare cancers often gain less attention and receive less awareness among the medical community, making their signs and symptoms comparatively little known.

Even common cancers can camouflage themselves as less serious or even totally benign issues. It’s not unheard of for a pathologist to encounter a false negative in a test of an individual’s blood or tissue or for a doctor to misinterpret a patient’s x-rays.

No matter how a misdiagnosis occurs, the result can be detrimental to a patient’s treatment and long-term health outcomes.

Cancer Diagnoses in Michigan

According to the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) spatiotemporal model-based predictor, there could be 61,910 new cancer cases in patients across Michigan in the year 2023 alone. The ACS’s data shows that they expect breast cancer to be the most common diagnosis, with almost 9,000 predicted cases. It’s also predicted that 21,380 individuals in Michigan will be tragically lost due to cancer in 2023, with lung and bronchus cancer being the most common form of cancer.

These projected numbers are based on information collected from qualified participating cancer registries in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The spatiotemporal model-based predictor also considers state variations in cancer screening behaviors, medical settings, sociodemographics, and lifestyle factors.

What Is Considered a “Misdiagnosis?”

 A doctor can misdiagnose a patient or miss a diagnosis completely. When a diagnosis is missed, a doctor will represent that nothing is wrong (when in fact, there is a problem that has been overlooked).

A “misdiagnosis” occurs when a doctor diagnoses a patient with a disease they do not have. When a misdiagnosis is delivered, a patient will often be treated for a disease they do not have. Meanwhile, the disease wreaking havoc on the patient is left to worsen and, in certain instances, can even be aggravated. In the event of either a misdiagnosis or a missed diagnosis, valuable treatment time is missed, and the underlying disease may become exacerbated as it remains untreated or improperly treated.

The Most Common Types of Cancer Misdiagnoses

The most commonly misdiagnosed cancers include:

  • Skin cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Brain cancer
  • Sarcomas
  • Lymphoma
  • Colon/colorectal cancer

How to Prove a Misdiagnosis

A successful misdiagnosis claim will carry evidence to show the following:

  1. There was a doctor-patient relationship,
  2. the doctor or health care provider failed to deliver the proper standard of care to the patient when they misdiagnosed the patient’s condition,
  3. the doctor’s misdiagnosis actually and proximately caused the patient’s injury,
  4. and injury and damages resulted from the injury (e.g., physical and mental pain, extra medical bills, loss of wages, etc.).

The phrase “standard of care” is a legal term of art, but its meaning is simple. All doctors are held to a certain “standard of care,” that is, a degree of competency they are expected to have and a level of attention that they owe to every patient they care for.

When a misdiagnosis claim is brought, it must be established that the doctor in the case failed to meet the proper standard of care expected of a medical professional in the doctor’s same (or similar) specialty. In other words, if a competent oncologist would have delivered a correct diagnosis, but your oncologist misdiagnosed you, your oncologist may have breached their standard of care, and you could have a misdiagnosis claim.

What to Do After a Cancer Diagnosis

If you or your loved one received a cancer diagnosis, take the following steps:

  1. Always seek a second opinion. It may be a good idea to seek a third or fourth opinion if you or a loved one have been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Multiple opinions can provide clarity on the type and stage of cancer and can sometimes provide more information on varying treatment options.
  2. Immediately obtain help from a qualified doctor who specializes in the type of cancer you’ve been diagnosed with.
  3. Retain all medical records and information (including lab results, appointment reports, hospital stays, etc.). Sometimes, you must be your (or your loved one’s) best advocate.
  4. Continue to seek prompt and competent medical care for ongoing symptoms.
  5. Consult with a medical malpractice law firm (particularly one with experience handling misdiagnosis cases) if you suspect that you or your loved one may have been misdiagnosed. When dealing with a critical diagnosis, every moment counts, and an experienced attorney can help you understand how to move forward.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Filing a medical malpractice claim is a complicated process. If you still have questions about cancer misdiagnoses or medical malpractice lawsuits, please view our frequently asked questions below.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Lawsuits Involving Cancer Misdiagnoses?

Cancer misdiagnosis cases are considered to be medical malpractice lawsuits. The statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits is two years from the date of the incident or six months after the discovery of the misdiagnoses, whichever time is later. This means that if you discover a misdiagnosis many years after it has happened, you may have only six months to pursue your claim.

There are exceptions in Michigan for lawsuits where the patient was a child under the age of 8 at the time of the incident. Even if you believe the statute of limitations may have passed for your claim, it’s still important to contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney, who can determine whether time remains to pursue a case.

What Are the Different Types of Compensation for Cancer Misdiagnosis Cases?

In a medical malpractice case, compensation may be available to a patient and/or their family members when liability is proven. Monetary awards can be made to victims of misdiagnoses in cases of injury or wrongful death.

There are two main types of compensation available to those who have suffered in a misdiagnosis case: compensation for economic damages and compensation for non-economic damages.

Economic damages occur when a victim has lost money, whether through missed work, medical expenses, or various other ways. Non-economic damages occur when a victim has experienced suffering that can’t be pinned down with an exact monetary figure. Examples of experiences through which a victim may experience non-economic damages include pain and suffering and emotional distress.

The total recoverable amount varies significantly based on the facts of the case. If you want to better understand what you could potentially recover, please
schedule a free case evaluation with one of our attorneys.

Is It Expensive to Hire a Lawyer?

While Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys does not speak for all attorneys or law firms, our firm operates under contingency fee arrangements. In such an arrangement, our law firm takes no fee unless and until you obtain a financial recovery, whereupon the firm takes a percentage of the recovery (typically one-third) net of costs.

How Can Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys Help Me?

Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys can provide you with the following:

– A free case evaluation (which helps you understand how and if you can move forward with your case).
– Help in understanding what documents are needed for your case.
– Professional collaboration with medical experts to establish a standard of care and identify if a breach occurred in your case.
– Promptness in handling the deadlines associated with your medical malpractice case.
– Representation in court should your case proceed to trial.

Request a Free Case Review From Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys Today

If a doctor misdiagnosed or failed to diagnose cancer in you or a loved one, and their error completely altered your treatment outcome, reach out to Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys. We proudly assist individuals and families throughout Michigan.

Fill out our online form today to schedule a free case review with one of our attorneys.


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