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Did your cancer spread due to a delayed diagnosis?

Learning that you have been diagnosed with cancer is never easy. You know that you are literally in the fight of your life, so you fight back with every treatment in your oncologist's arsenal.

But what about those whose diagnoses arrive too late to make a significant difference? When the cancer spreads because of a radiologist's failure to timely diagnose the condition, it can be even more of a bitter pill for patients to swallow.

The number one reason for the filing of malpractice litigation in cases involving radiologists is diagnostic errors or failing to diagnose malignancies, according to a radiologist with Skokie Hospital.

The most frequent diagnostic error is failing to diagnose breast cancer. Coming in second and third are failure to diagnose lung cancer and broken bones, respectively.

Failing to clearly communicate can exacerbate the problem. This is most often characterized by reports from radiologists not getting to the physicians to whom the radiologists refer their patients.

Alternatively, a lack of communication about a diagnosis to the patient can be deadly even if the referring physician receives the relevant reports. The uptick in communication breakdowns can be attributed to the high workload most radiologists must juggle effectively.

None of this is good news for patients who are suffering from cancer that may have been eradicated had the doctor or his harried staff members not dropped the diagnostic ball. In these type of cases, the only recourse a patient may have to rectify the situation is to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit against those responsible for the delay in diagnosing the condition.

Source: Diagnostic Imaging, "Failure to Diagnose and Communicate in Radiology," Liza Haar, accessed Jan. 20, 2017

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