Few things are more terrifying than receiving a breast cancer diagnosis. One is receiving a late diagnosis. Breast cancer is the second most common form of breast cancer for women, only following skin cancers. About one in three new cases of cancer in women is breast cancer. Early detection is key to fighting this aggressive disease.
If your breast cancer diagnosis was delayed because of your healthcare provider’s negligence, the medical malpractice attorneys at Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C. are here to help you. Contact our compassionate legal team for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Why Choosing Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C. Is Right for You
If you are dealing with a delayed cancer diagnosis or a misdiagnosis, you have enough to worry about without having to be concerned about your lawyer’s competency. At Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C., we have dozens of multi-million dollar recoveries for our clients, including for instance:
- $9.8 million medical malpractice verdict
- $5.6 million recovered for a medical negligence case
- $5.5 million recovered for a medical malpractice case
- $4.8 million in a medical malpractice case
- $4 million in a medical malpractice wrongful death case
- $3.1 million in a delayed diagnosis of breast cancer case
When you hire us, you know you can trust us to fight tirelessly for the full compensation you deserve. We will also treat you with the respect and dignity you deserve. Contact us for a free initial case assessment to learn more about how we can help.
What Is a Delayed Breast Cancer Diagnosis?
A delayed breast cancer diagnosis occurs when breast cancer is diagnosed later than it should have been, given the particular circumstances. Because breast cancer can metastasize, a delay can compromise a patient’s health.
Difference Between Delayed Diagnosis and Misdiagnosis
A delayed diagnosis occurs when a patient’s condition is not diagnosed when it should have been. The harm is that the patient is not receiving the care they need, so their condition goes untreated.
A misdiagnosis occurs when a patient diagnoses the patient with a condition they do not have. As a result, the patient does not receive the treatment they need and may receive unnecessary treatment. Our firm handles both types of cases.
Can You Sue a Doctor for Not Diagnosing Breast Cancer?
Not all cases of breast cancer are immediately apparent. There may not be clear signs of the condition until later stages. When there are no observable symptoms, the case may not be medical malpractice.
However, there are many instances when breast cancer is not diagnosed promptly or misdiagnosed. Approximately one-third of cases are misdiagnosed. Breast cancer misdiagnosis is the most common delayed diagnosis claim against doctors. To establish a medical malpractice claim for delayed diagnosis, you will need to be able to show the following:
- You had a doctor-patient relationship.
- A reasonably careful doctor should have been able to properly diagnose the condition under similar circumstances.
- The doctor’s negligence resulted in a delayed diagnosis of cancer.
- If you received a proper diagnosis, you would have received treatment sooner.
- You suffered damages because of the delayed diagnosis, such as additional medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, disability, or increased risk of death.
If you received a delayed diagnosis or were misdiagnosed, you may have a medical malpractice claim. Contact our legal team today to learn more about your legal rights and options.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me After a Breast Cancer Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis?
You are already going through a lot because of a delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis. Still, the law requires you to bring forth your legal claim within a limited amount of time, or you can risk losing your right to recover the damages you suffered. Your lawyer can preserve your legal rights by filing your legal claims in a timely manner. A lawyer can retain qualified medical experts to testify on your behalf and gather important evidence to help build a strong claim while you undergo more aggressive treatment. A lawyer can negotiate with insurance companies and defendants, fighting for the compensation you deserve. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can effectively litigate and prove your case in order to win if the case goes to trial.
What Should I Do if My Diagnosis of Breast Cancer Was Delayed?
The most important thing you should do if you suspect a delayed cancer diagnosis or a misdiagnosis is to seek prompt medical care. You have already lost valuable time in your treatment journey, and you don’t want to lose any more. Keep all of your medical records and request any that you are missing. Contact a qualified delayed diagnosis lawyer who can investigate and guide you in the next steps to build your case against the healthcare providers responsible for your delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis.
What Evidence Do I Need to Prove My Case?
Medical malpractice cases are highly complex. You will need all of your medical records that are related to your breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, including any records that show you communicated your symptoms or that your condition was misdiagnosed. Your lawyer may gather these records on your behalf.
Additionally, you will need an affidavit of merit from a qualified healthcare provider that states you have grounds to bring forth your case, based on a thorough review of the situation. Your lawyer can obtain this affidavit. Once the case is filed, you will need well qualified experts to testify on your behalf to prove your case. A qualified medical malpractice attorney will retain these experts.
What Damages Can I Recover in a Delayed or Misdiagnosed Breast Cancer?
A delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis can have a significant impact on a patient and their family. If your delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis harmed you, you may be able to recover compensation for the following:
- Past medical expenses
- Reasonably expected medical expenses for the future
- Loss of income
- Reduced earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of normal life
- Emotional and/or psychological suffering
- Loss of consortium
If the misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis resulted in the patient’s death, the surviving family may be able to recover wrongful death damages, including compensation for loss of their loved one’s love, care and companionship, pain and suffering, loss of earnings, loss of services, funeral expenses and burial costs.
How Long Do I Have to Bring My Delayed or Misdiagnosis Case?
Illinois has a two-year statute of limitations that generally applies in most personal injury cases, including medical malpractice cases. The two years typically begin after the patient knows or should know about the medical mistake, or two years after a patient’s death in a wrongful death claim. There is also an upper time limit of four years called the statute of repose, so even if you did not discover the mistake until some time after you received the treatment, you only have four years from the mistake to file your case. Exceptions to the statute of limitations may also apply.
We recommend consulting a qualified medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. Evidence could be lost, witnesses could move, or people may forget things, so it’s essential to contact a qualified delayed diagnosis lawyer. The sooner you contact a lawyer, the sooner work can begin on your case and the sooner you may be able to recover the compensation you need.
How Delayed Breast Cancer Diagnosis Occurs
There are many reasons why a breast cancer diagnosis may occur, including for example:
- Doctors fail to identify early symptoms of breast cancer
- Missing a lump during a breast exam
- Misinterpreting symptoms
- Failing to collect or consider a patient’s family history
- Ignoring or disregarding symptoms
- Misdiagnosing a tumor as an infection
- Failing to order a mammogram
- Failing to order proper testing
- Cancer screenings give false negative results
- Misinterpreting mammogram results
- Failing to determine the cause of discharge
- Failing to follow proper cancer diagnosis processes and procedures
- Failing to biopsy a palpable mass when a mammogram or ultrasonography results indicate a negative result
- Missing the tumor during a fine-needle aspiration biopsy
- Failing to follow up on a mammogram
- Misdiagnosing the condition for fibrocystic breast disease, mastitis, or other conditions
- Delays in appointments or receiving test results
- Failing to begin treatment before the disease becomes untreatable
- Failing to refer the patient to a specialist in a prompt manner
Would an Earlier Diagnosis Have Made a Difference?
In delayed diagnosis cases, it is essential to prove that you would have fared better if your cancer had been diagnosed sooner. For example, you must establish that your likelihood of survival would have been significantly better or the cancer would not have developed into an advanced stage if it had been diagnosed earlier.
It is possible for healthcare providers and medical experts to quantify your loss of a chance by comparing your five-year survival rates. They compare what your rate of survival is at the stage of cancer you are in now with the rate of the stage you would have been at had the cancer been diagnosed earlier once symptoms were present or the doctor’s mistake was made. It may be necessary to have an expert witness who can testify to this difference.
Warning Signs of Delayed Diagnosis
If you think you may have breast cancer and that your healthcare provider should have recognized breast cancer, consider whether you have experienced any of the following:
- Your doctor’s failure to investigate or take seriously your reported symptoms
- Miscommunication or misunderstanding documented of your condition
- A lack of orders for testing for symptoms
- Failure to provide appropriate biopsies or other treatment
If you have experienced these warning signs, reach out to us for a free initial case assessment.
Dangers of Delayed Diagnosis of Breast Cancer
Early detection of breast cancer can help prevent the cancer from entering a more serious stage. It is often associated with lower mortality rates. Tumors grow exponentially, and cancer can spread to other parts of the body. A delay of even a few months can have a significant negative effect on patients’ survival rates. Women who begin receiving treatment three to six months after noticing symptoms have a much lower survival rate, compared to women who began treatment within three months of noticing symptoms.
A delayed diagnosis of greater than three months can result in larger tumors, cancerous lymph nodes, advanced stages of cancer, and metastatic disease.
When a delayed diagnosis is not fatal, it can still lead to many negative consequences. A patient may enter a more advanced stage of cancer. More aggressive treatment may be necessary. The occurrence of developing cancer again in the future can be higher. A mastectomy may be necessary.
A delayed diagnosis can also lead to the need for more expensive medical treatment. The financial burden can be significant. The patient may also endure substantial pain and suffering.
Contact Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C. for Help with Your Case
If you were harmed because your healthcare provider delayed your breast cancer diagnosis or misdiagnosed you, you deserve accountability. Our legal team is here to help you pursue it. We have a network of experts we can depend on to help support your case and the skills and experience necessary to maximize your chance for a favorable outcome.
Contact Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C. for help with your breast cancer delay or misdiagnosis case. We provide a free, confidential case review that you can take advantage of by calling us today.