A delayed diagnosis is much different than a misdiagnosis, although both can be highly detrimental to someone’s health. With a misdiagnosis, the patient may never get proper treatment or they may need to go to another medical professional. With a delayed diagnosis, the doctor does eventually figure out what’s going on, but not as quickly as expected – perhaps because they were negligent in some way.
With some conditions, the delay doesn’t have much of an impact, but there are other situations in which the delay itself can be incredibly problematic or even fatal. One example of this is when the doctor diagnoses a type of cancer, such as mesothelioma.
An aggressive disease
Mesothelioma is an interesting type of cancer because it has a very long latency period. Someone could get exposed to asbestos 20 or 30 years before they’re actually diagnosed with the mesothelioma that the asbestos causes.
However, once the cancer does develop, it is considered highly aggressive. It can quickly spread throughout the body and is often fatal in just a few years.
As such, prompt treatment is crucial when dealing with mesothelioma. If a doctor makes the wrong diagnosis – telling someone that they have an ulcer or gastronomical problems, for example – then the cancer can spread for months or even years before the proper diagnosis is made. A patient may have survived if they’d gotten that treatment immediately, but the delay means that the cancer will now be terminal.
Do you feel that a doctor has made such a crucial error and harmed you or a loved one? Make sure you are well aware of the legal steps you can take at this time.