Cancer Misdiagnosis Lawyer | Orlando, Florida

As an Orlando cancer misdiagnosis lawyer, the first example that always comes to mind is my husband’s father.  He was growing older, and had been married to my mother-in-law for over 50 years.  But he was the picture of perfect health for his age (82).  He took no medications, was slim and strong, ate a healthy diet, still worked daily, was very active with gardening and other house building projects, traveled often, and had essentially no health complaints.  He was 82 when his wife started urging him to get a small spot on the back of his neck checked.

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Orlando Cancer Misdiagnosis Attorney

Cancer Misdiagnosis On The First Go Round

The really sad part is that he did exactly what he should have done.  He went to the doctor.  And not just any doctor.  A dermatologist.  He showed the doctor the spot on the back of his neck.  The doctor examined it, and said it was nothing.  He sent him on his way.

Cancer Misdiagnosis Turns Tragic

Several months later, the spot had grown larger.  So again he went back to the same doctor, and was told that he had melanoma.  The doctors performed immediate surgery to remove the tumor.  This procedure left a gaping “doughnut” sized hole in the back of his neck.  He was then told that they got the margins, and he should be fine.

Cancer Misdiagnosis Leads To Coughing Up Blood

About a year later, he started coughing up blood.  A trip to another doctor revealed he had lung cancer, which was spread from the melanoma that had not been completely removed during the prior surgery.  His family, including his wife of more than 50 years, was told he had six months to live.  Everyone was in shock.  The terribly sad reality was that he didn’t even make it six months.  And most of his remaining time was spent in great sickness.  The last few weeks were a morphine filled, hospice nightmare.

What Caused Cancer Misdiagnosis?

When he was still alive, I just happened to be volunteering at an Orlando medical clinic for the poor, where we had a fantastic dermatologist on staff (also a longtime volunteer).  We discussed my husband’s father’s case, and he really couldn’t believe a dermatologist had missed melanoma.  Melanoma is easily treatable when detected early.  Unfortunately, melanoma is one of the most aggressive and deadly cancers when misdiagnosed, and caught too late.  He said usually the problem is people do not get checked.  For most people, when they get checked, they are fine.  So the numbers of people who die from melanoma anymore are relatively low.

Cancer Misdiagnosis Lawsuit?

Unfortunately my husband’s family was opposed to any cancer misdiagnosis lawsuit.  That’s really a shame because the only way to stop a bad doctor or hospital, or at least slow them down, is to hit them where they hurt: their pocketbook.

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What Typically Causes Cancer Misdiagnosis?

Most cases of cancer misdiagnosis are strikingly similar to the one I just shared.  A patient goes to the doctor complaining of random symptoms.  The doctor should recognize those symptoms as potentially cancer.  But he doesn’t.  Instead he assumes it is something less serious, and sends the patient home.  This can be caused by spending too little time with the patient, being overworked, been too tired, or just being incompetent (not having sufficient training, education or skill to recognize the symptoms).  This causes the patient to lose critical time.  Many of the most effective cancer treatments work best at the earliest stages of cancer. So that window of opportunity is gone when the doctor misses the obvious.

What Questions Help A Lawyer Determine Whether There Is A Good Case Based On Cancer Misdiagnosis?

If a doctor has failed to diagnosis cancer, then whether there is a legal remedy involves numerous different questions, including:

  1. Whether another doctor, if presented with the same symptoms, would have ordered more testing, or otherwise discovered the cancer;
  2. Whether the outcome would have been significantly different, had the cancer been discovered earlier.  For example, would the patient likely have survived, had the diagnosis been made earlier?
  3. Whether there was a good treatment for the cancer, with a high percentage likelihood of success (such as with the melanoma example above).  For some cancers, the patient was likely to die either way (even with early diagnosis).  In other words, if there are no available and effective treatments, then the case is probably not great from a legal perspective (even if misdiagnosed initially).
  4. The stage of the cancer when the patient first presented to the doctor.  This is important because more cancers are treatable in the earliest stages.
  5. Did a family physician simply not spend enough time with their patient, not give enough attention to complaints & symptoms, not order necessary testing, or not refer to an oncologist?  This is sadly common, since many doctors are driven more by health insurance payment rules than patient well-being.
  6. Did a doctor improperly interpret test results, or fail to follow up as needed?
  7. Whether a visible tumor was ignored, or not biopsied;
  8. Whether a cancerous tumor was dismissed as benign;
  9. If the patient died, whether there are any children under 25, or a surviving spouse because those are the only people who can recover for a wrongful death medical malpractice case (this particular limit ONLY applies in Florida);
  10. Whether the medical records make clear that the patient complained of symptoms that should have made the cancer diagnosis clear, and the lack of follow up testing or treatment.  This is important because we can only prove a cancer misdiagnosis case with medical records that show the lack of needed treatment or testing;
  11. In a wrongful death case, whether the person had other medical conditions that would have caused death in a similar or close time frame.  The reason for this is that the medical malpractice must have caused the injury or death, and the time-frame for a likely longer life must have been significant.
  12. Whether the doctor who performed the procedure has insurance, and how much;
  13. If cancer was diagnosed, but did not exist, what treatments the patient underwent (or skipped for the actual condition), and injuries suffered, as a result of the wrong diagnosis;
  14. The doctor’s business relationship with any associated hospital; and
  15. A number of other factors.

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Why An Orlando Cancer Misdiagnosis Lawyer Needs Time To Evaluate

Cancer Misdiagnosis Biggest Legal QsIf you are searching for an Orlando cancer misdiagnosis lawyer (or a cancer misdiagnosis lawyer anywhere in the country), then you absolutely must understand that case evaluations take time.  Unfortunately, the reality of medical malpractice statutes nationwide is that many are pro-doctor and anti-victim.  So 99% of cases must be rejected.  The stats ARE better for cancer misdiagnosis cases.  But they still depend to a great extent on the type of cancer, stage of cancer when the patient first presented to the doctor who missed the signs, and all of the other factors listed above.  So cancer misdiagnosis lawyers need time to evaluate cases.  There is nothing fast about that process, unfortunately.

How Are Florida Cancer Misdiagnosis Cases Evaluated?

The first step for a Florida cancer misdiagnosis lawyer to evaluate a case is to talk to the victim, or, in the case of a wrongful death, his relatives.  (The procedure is very similar for a cancer misdiagnosis case anywhere in the country, although there are variations in the laws).  We have to learn from the person what the doctor was told, what type of cancer is involved, and what treatments were given.  If it sounds like there might be a viable cancer diagnosis case, then the next step is obtaining and reviewing medical records.  This takes time, and we are unable to do this in every case.  If we believe there might be a good legal case, then we order medical records.  We have to wait to get those back.  Then we have to read them carefully, to determine whether the records support whatever the person has told us.  If the records are consistent, the final step is getting an opinion from another doctor.  Florida requires that we have a doctor give a sworn statement that there was a cancer misdiagnosis, to even file a lawsuit (this is not true in all states).

What Is The Statute of Limitations For A Cancer Misdiagnosis Case?

In Florida, the statute of limitations for cancer misdiagnosis is two years from the date of the misdiagnosis, or discovery of the misdiagnosis.  That analysis can get complicated. This is only Florida — the laws vary from state-to-state.  So the best step, if you aren’t sure, is to contact a cancer misdiagnosis lawyer.

Should You Handle A Cancer Misdiagnosis Case Without A Lawyer?

This is a crazy, impossible idea.  Handling a cancer misdiagnosis case involves many MANY complicated steps, years of work, and many thousands of dollars.  Experts must be chosen, hired, and paid for their opinions throughout the process.  There are lots of legal hoops that must be cleared before you can even start a cancer misdiagnosis lawsuit. For example, you need that doctor opinion I mentioned before.  Then there are many stages of a lawsuit that require an attorney’s careful time and attention.  Handling a case on your own would simply be impossible.

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What If You Can’t Find A Cancer Misdiagnosis Attorney To Take Your Case?

Sometimes people think that they can or should handle a case on their own because they can’t find a cancer misdiagnosis attorney to take their case.  This is very understandable but faulty thinking.  If you can’t find a cancer misdiagnosis attorney, the likely reason is that you don’t satisfy the criteria listed above.  So a cancer misdiagnosis attorney cannot take your case because you aren’t likely to succeed, or the cost doesn’t even come close to justifying the expense, and financial risk.  If a cancer misdiagnosis attorney is unable take your case, then, unfortunately, that’s probably because the law doesn’t provide a good remedy.  At the same time, different attorneys have different criteria.  Sometimes that means that one attorney can take your case when others could not.  But if numerous cancer misdiagnosis attorneys have passed on your case, then there probably are no good legal options.

What If You Have A Cancer Misdiagnosis Case Outside Florida?

We evaluate cancer misdiagnosis cases nationwide.

What Are The Basic Types Of Cancer Misdiagnosis?

The two basic categories of missed cancer diagnosis are: (1) failing to test and therefore diagnose cancer when presented with symptoms that made the cancer possibility clear; and (2) diagnosing a patient with cancer who really doesn’t have cancer.  Either one of those can lead to serious injuries, painful or unnecessary treatments, or even death.

What Happens If Someone Is Diagnosed With Cancer, But They Don’t Have Cancer?

If a patient who doesn’t have cancer is diagnosed with cancer, then they may be put through chemotherapy and radiation, which can have very serious long-term complications for their health.  Additionally, their real medical condition went untreated.  This can lead to serious medical complications, or even death.  The potential legal remedy depends on the treatment that the person received for cancer they did not have (and their physical / health impact on the victim), treatments they missed for conditions they did have, and any other costly or harmful steps taken as a result of the bad cancer diagnosis.

What Cancers Are Commonly Misdiagnosed?

Commonly Misdiagnosed CancersSome commonly misdiagnosed cancers are:

  • breast cancer
  • cervical cancer
  • lung cancer
  • ovarian cancer
  • prostate cancer
  • skin cancer / melanoma
  • colon cancer
  • brain tumor / brain cancer
  • testicular cancer

Do You Need An Orlando Cancer Misdiagnosis Attorney?

If you would like to speak with an Orlando cancer misdiagnosis attorney today, please give me a call or text at (407) 383-7290.  I am licensed in Florida and Georgia.  For anyone outside those two states, I still may be able to help you find a lawyer with experience handling these types of cases.

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Why You Should Hire Ms. Willis As Your Attorney