Law Office of Robert A. Miller
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Doctors' failure to diagnose cancer leads to woman's mastectomy


Many Oregonians have been affected by cancer in one way or another. Some have personally been afflicted with the disease while others may have had a loved one who was diagnosed. Those familiar with the disease know that one of the keys to beating it is early detection. While individuals can do self-examinations to help identify potentially problematic lumps, it is up to medical professionals to provide a diagnosis and subsequent treatment plan.

Sometimes, though, doctors make unreasonable errors that lead to a failure to diagnose or a misdiagnosis and a patient receives delayed treatment. This was case for one woman who, in 2007, had a mammogram that discovered she had a small lump. After examination, doctors concluded the lump was benign. Doctors kept an eye on her condition and again in 2009, 2010 and 2011, they made the same diagnosis.

However, in 2012, a random review of the woman's case, conducted by another doctor, discovered that the mass was in fact cancerous and that it had significantly grown. The woman had a mastectomy and would have had a life expectancy of six months if the proper diagnosis had not been made. She is now suing her doctors for her damages.

As evidenced by this case, a misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose can result in a worsened medical condition and, in some instances, a reduced chance of survival. Medical professionals who put patients in these positions should be punished for their wrongdoing, and in many cases the only way to do that is to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. A successful claim may bring a victim compensation for his or her losses, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, but it will also send a clear message to the medical community that care should be taken when diagnosing patients.

Source: KRQE, "Lawsuit: Woman victim of misdiagnosis," Kayla Ayres, May 25, 2014

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