Tampa Cancer Misdiagnosis Attorneys
Medical malpractice is our core expertise.
We pursue justice for victims of cancer misdiagnosis, holding negligent doctors accountable for the serious harm they cause.
In the heart of Tampa and across South Florida, we’re fortunate to have access to some of the nation’s leading healthcare facilities, including the renowned Moffitt Cancer Center, celebrated for its cutting-edge cancer research and treatments.
However, even in areas with such exceptional medical resources, the unfortunate reality of a cancer misdiagnosis exists.
When you or a loved one entrusts your health to medical professionals, accurate and timely diagnosis is expected. Yet, medical misdiagnosis, often a result of hospital negligence, is more common than many realize, and its implications can be life-altering.
Misdiagnosing a disease or missing it altogether can lead to delayed or inappropriate treatment, significantly affecting a patient’s chance of recovery.
Your voice matters, and your concerns deserve to be heard
If you or your loved one has suffered from medical misdiagnosis, talk to us. Our Tampa medical malpractice attorneys are committed to guiding you through every step, providing clear answers and fighting tirelessly for your rights.
Contact Palmer Lopez today for a free consultation
Let us be your advocate in seeking justice and compensation. You never pay a fee unless we win your case.
Some types of cancer are more prone to misdiagnosis than others
Here’s a look at some of the most commonly misdiagnosed cancers:
- Breast cancer. This cancer is often misdiagnosed due to similarities in symptoms with less serious conditions or misinterpretation of mammograms. Early detection is key, and any delay can affect treatment outcomes.
- Lung cancer. Lung cancer is frequently mistaken for respiratory issues like asthma or bronchitis, especially in non-smokers. Misdiagnosis can lead to crucial treatment delays.
- Prostate cancer. Symptoms of prostate cancer can be subtle and resemble benign prostate issues, such as inflammation or BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia), a common urinary problem in older men. These similarities can lead to misdiagnosis, making early detection crucial for effective treatment.
- Colon cancer. This cancer is commonly misdiagnosed as less serious gastrointestinal issues like hemorrhoids or IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), delaying correct treatment.
- Melanoma (skin cancer). Sometimes melanoma is mistaken for non-cancerous moles or skin growths, leading to delayed treatment. Early diagnosis is crucial for successful treatment.
- Lymphoma. This cancer that affects the immune system is frequently misidentified due to its flu-like symptoms, which can delay the correct diagnosis and treatment.
- Ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer is often misdiagnosed as gastrointestinal or reproductive issues, as symptoms can be vague or similar to those of other conditions. This can lead to significant delays in receiving the proper treatment.
The tragic reality of cancer misdiagnosis
The misdiagnosis of cancer, in particular, can have devastating consequences. Whether it’s a failure to identify cancer entirely or incorrectly diagnosing it as a less serious condition, the impact extends far beyond physical health.
Patients and families often face emotional turmoil, financial strain due to unnecessary treatments, and the heartbreak of lost time that could have been spent on effective treatment.
In the complex world of cancer care, where every moment counts, an accurate diagnosis is not just a medical necessity—it’s a race against time.
In the news:
Michelle Gomer’s Lawsuit in Haines City, FL: Doctor Sued for Medical Negligence in Breast Cancer Misdiagnosis
Michelle Gomer filed a lawsuit against a clinic in Haines City. Gomer, aged 41, visited the Doctors Today LLC clinic 5 times over 2 months in 2018, complaining of a painful lump in her left breast.
Despite her complaints, neither the doctor nor the nurse practitioner physically examined the lump or performed any diagnostic testing. They attributed the lump to her menstrual cycle.
Unfortunately, by the time Gomer was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2018, it had progressed to an aggressive Stage III and quickly escalated to Stage IV, spreading to her lungs.
When she was diagnosed in November 2018, while living in Indiana, Gomer was told she had an aggressive Stage III breast cancer, and it quickly progressed to Stage IV.”
According to the lawsuit, “Ms. Gomer’s cancer has now spread to her lungs, essentially extinguishing any chances of survival.”
This delay in diagnosis tragically transformed Ms. Gomer’s condition from potentially curable to terminal. The lawsuit highlights the missed opportunity for treatment and survival, stating that had the clinic performed the necessary examinations and tests, she could have had a chance to live and spend time with her children.
How can doctors not know that it’s cancer?
When it comes to a cancer diagnosis, the margin for error is slim, and unfortunately, mistakes do happen. Doctors fail to diagnose for multiple reasons, including:
- Lack of in-depth symptom analysis. Doctors might not delve deeply enough into your symptoms. A thorough analysis is critical, as seemingly minor symptoms can sometimes be indicators of cancer.
- Communication gaps among medical professionals. Effective communication between healthcare providers is essential. A lapse here can mean vital information gets lost in translation, potentially missing a cancer diagnosis.
- Failure to thoroughly review medical history. A detailed review of your medical history can reveal important clues. Neglecting this step might mean overlooking predispositions or patterns indicative of cancer.
- Inaccurate test result interpretation. The way test results are interpreted is key. Errors in reading these results can lead to a misdiagnosis or a missed diagnosis.
- Failure to identify early signs of cancer. Early signs of cancer, even subtle ones, should never be ignored. Overlooking these initial signs can lead to significant delays in diagnosis and treatment.
- Failure to order correct and timely tests. Conducting the right tests at the right time is fundamental. Missing out on essential tests or opting for incorrect ones can result in a missed cancer diagnosis.
- Failure to consider genetic factors. Family health history can hold crucial insights into an individual’s cancer risk. Not considering these genetic factors can be a critical oversight in diagnosis.
- Failure to consider age-related cancer risks. Every age group has different cancer risks. Failing to consider the increased cancer risks associated with a patient’s age can result in missed or delayed diagnoses.
- Delay in specialist referrals. Delays in referrals to specialists can be detrimental. Quick access to a specialist can mean the difference between early and late detection.
- Doctor overconfidence. Sometimes, a doctor’s initial diagnosis based on a “gut feeling” might overshadow the need for further investigation, leading to misdiagnosis.
- Failure to consult cancer specialists. Input from oncologists or cancer specialists is often vital. Not seeking a specialist’s advice denies a patient the expertise they need for a timely diagnosis and treatment.
- Insufficient medical knowledge. Medicine is ever-evolving. A doctor relying on outdated methods or knowledge can result in a misdiagnosis.
- Laboratory inaccuracy. Labs play a crucial role in diagnosis. Any error in the lab, be it in sample handling or testing, can give misleading results.
- Breakdown in patient-doctor communication. Patients need to share their complete health histories and current symptoms with their doctors. Holding back information can lead to an incomplete diagnosis.
Can you sue a doctor for misdiagnosing cancer?
It depends. It’s important to understand that not every error in diagnosis necessarily leads to medical malpractice. However, there are specific circumstances in which a doctor may be held liable, including those mentioned above.
To successfully sue a doctor in a medical malpractice lawsuit for a cancer misdiagnosis, you’ll need to be able to prove that they failed to provide adequate care and that failure resulted in harm. Generally, this is done by:
- Establishing the doctor-patient relationship. First, it must be clear that there was a formal doctor-patient relationship. This means the doctor was directly involved in your care and made decisions about your treatment.
- Proving the standard of care was breached. In medical practice, there’s something called the “standard of care.” It’s a level of care and expertise that any reasonably competent doctor would provide under similar circumstances. If a doctor’s actions (or lack of actions) fall below this standard, such as by missing key symptoms or failing to order appropriate tests, it can be considered a breach of this standard.
- Showing the misdiagnosis caused direct harm. It’s not enough to prove that a mistake was made; you also have to show that this mistake directly led to harm. This could mean that due to the misdiagnosis, your condition worsened, you underwent unnecessary treatment, or you were exposed to harmful side effects from incorrect treatment.
- Demonstrating damages. Finally, there needs to be clear damages. This could be physical harm, additional medical costs, lost wages due to an inability to work, or pain and suffering.
In cancer misdiagnosis cases, these factors can become particularly complex, especially if a doctor’s failure to diagnose cancer in a timely manner results in rapid cancer progression or death.
Our job as your medical malpractice lawyers is to prove that a competent doctor, under similar circumstances, would have made the correct diagnosis and prevented the subsequent harm.
We understand the medical and legal nuances of proving liability and are dedicated to helping our clients navigate these challenging waters. If you believe you or a loved one has suffered due to a misdiagnosis, contact us for a free case evaluation.
Time limits apply to filing medical malpractice claims—Act now
All states have a time limit, known as a statute of limitations, in place to ensure that medical malpractice claims are made while evidence is still fresh and memories are clear.
In Florida, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is generally 2 years. This means you have 2 years from the date you knew or should have known about the injury that resulted from the medical malpractice to file a lawsuit.
However, there are exceptions for specific circumstances:
- If the malpractice involves fraud, concealment or intentional misrepresentation by the healthcare provider, the statute of limitations may be extended.
- For minors, especially in cases of birth injuries, the rules can be different. Florida law allows for an extended period for filing a claim on behalf of a child, possibly up until their 8th birthday.
Florida also has what’s known as a statute of repose, which creates an outer limit of 4 years for filing a medical malpractice claim, regardless of when the injury was or should have been discovered, with certain exceptions for cases involving fraud, concealment or misrepresentation.
Get a free cancer misdiagnosis case evaluation.
In any case of cancer misdiagnosis, the role of a knowledgeable attorney is crucial. Our team is here to guide you through every step, ensuring your case is handled promptly and effectively.
Remember, in legal matters, time is of the essence. We’re here to help you meet these crucial deadlines and ensure your right to compensation is protected.
With Palmer Lopez, you’re not just a case number. You’re a valued individual seeking justice. And with our no-win, no-fee promise, you can trust us to pursue your case with your best interests at heart.