When your physician fails to meet the standards of his or her profession, and you suffer harm as a result, a medical malpractice lawsuit can allow you to seek compensation for your injuries. In the field of oncology, which deals with the treatment of cancer, medical malpractice can be especially devastating to victims and their families.
Here’s what cancer patients, survivors, and families need to know about medical malpractice in an oncology practice, including how it can happen and how to get legal help if you have been hurt.
How Oncology Medical Malpractice Happens
Oncology is a medically challenging field that specializes in the treatment of diseases that are potentially lethal if left unchecked. But there are many types of cancer that can be defeated if caught in time, or at least fought off enough to add measurable time or an improved quality of life for a longer period of time than would otherwise be possible.
However, this hinges on the doctor’s knowledge, experience, and attention to the patient and his or her symptoms. One of the top causes of medical malpractice lawsuits is for a delay in diagnosis, when the doctor, radiologist, or other medical professional should have caught the signs that the disease was in progress. There are many links in the process of diagnosing cancer that can be broken by professional negligence, including:
- Misinterpreting or misreading test results. When a radiology report, biopsy sample, blood work, or other diagnostic test isn’t read correctly, or when the doctor doesn’t read it at all.
- Communications breakdowns. A failure to communicate between the physician who ordered a test and the pathologist or radiologist can cause a dangerous delay in treatment.
- Failure to follow through. Even if initial tests for a cancerous disease are negative, a doctor still has a responsibility to follow through on the symptoms that the patient has until a diagnosis is found.
A failure to communicate test results with a patient can also be a big problem. If a patient never receives the results of a critical diagnostic, how can he or she make the best decision with regards to treatment, or receive treatment at all? An unreasonable delay in delivering results can mean that the disease progresses to a point where treatment options narrow considerably—or are no longer possible at all.
Another source of oncological malpractice can happen with the potent medications given to treat cancer. Chemotherapy drugs are typically very powerful and toxic by nature, and a dose that treats a disease may not be very far from a dose that can cause severe and life-threatening side effects, such as kidney failure or other types of organ damage. A dosage mistake by the prescribing doctor, by the pharmacist that fills the order, or by the person who administers the drug may result in the need for a malpractice suit to recover damages from the injury.
Severe, intractable pain is a problem that many cancer patients face. At least one report has found that the failure to follow national-level pain guidelines by under-prescribing or over-prescribing potent narcotic medications may be grounds for a medical malpractice suit, as well.
Get Legal Help Now
Cancer is a powerful disease that can deeply affect the lives of patients and their families, making it critical for doctors and other health care professionals to live up to the standards of their profession. A negligent act can cause untold pain and suffering, and it can tear lives apart by causing injuries that could have been prevented.
If you or a loved one have suffered harm due to medical malpractice in the course of cancer care, you are not alone. The attorneys at Wayne Wright LLP are here to represent you and your family so that you can get the compensation that you are owed for your medical bills, future care costs, and other expenses related to an injury caused by a negligent medical professional.
To arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced legal professional at Wayne Wright LLP, call us by phone today, use our online contact form to send an email, or click the live chat box on this page right now.