Failure to diagnose a medical condition in a timely fashion can have a drastic impact on a person’s life. Our legal team is dedicated to helping all those who have been harmed as a result of a medical professional failing to diagnose medical conditions, such as cancer. If this has happened to you, you can rely on a Stamford, Connecticut malpractice lawyer from our firm. Contact Casper & de Toledo today.
Failure to Diagnose Lawyer in Stamford, Connecticut
Did your physician fail to order certain tests, analyze test results correctly, look at the test results promptly, or otherwise fail to diagnose your medical condition under circumstances where a reasonable and responsible physician would have? If so, you may have a valid medical malpractice claim. Our Stamford, Connecticut medical malpractice lawyer is here to listen to your story and determine the best path going forward.
Failure to Detect Colon and Rectal Cancer—An Insidious Killer
Colon and rectal cancer are types of insidious (subtle/imperceptible) disease. While there are never any guarantees, proper screening for colon and rectal cancer can be an effective method for ensuring that there will be timely medical intervention. Timeliness is the key to being able to successfully treat the disease and to prevent undesirable outcomes that may involve permanent ostomy surgery and perhaps death.
Colorectal cancer is the third most prevalent form of cancer among men and women, with an estimated 150,000 new cases diagnosed each year. The expected number of annual deaths is approximately 55,000. Over the last several years, the death rate has been decreasing, largely due to advances in early detection and treatment modalities (methods).
Shamefully, actual or implicit bias or discrimination in healthcare against people of color and ethnic minorities has resulted in more deaths and other poor outcomes that may be the subject of legal action. See generally Mahajan S. et al., Trends in Differences in Health Status and Health Care Access and Affordability by Race and Ethnicity in the United States, 1999-2018, JAMA, 2021 Aug 17:326(7):637-648. doi: 10.001/jama.2021.9907. PMID: 34402830: PMCID: PMC8371573.
Typically, colorectal cancer develops slowly, over the course of several years, and its symptoms will depend upon the location of the cancer. Colorectal cancer generally begins growth as a polyp, and the removal of the polyp may effectively cure the potential for cancer.
Proper screening for colorectal cancer may reduce deaths by as much as 70%. Very early screening is accomplished with the Fecal Occult Blood Test, which assesses traces of blood in the feces. This test is routinely administered through your doctor’s office using a test that the patient uses at home. The test will likely reveal overt signs of blood in the feces. A positive test should be followed by a colonoscopy. Another test that can be performed is the Fecal Immunochemical Test. Further clinical examination can be performed in the doctor’s office with flexible sigmoidoscopy. This scope can be used to visualize the entire rectum (about 2 feet), but it is incapable of examining the colon. The colon can be examined only by colonoscopy.
Family history is a very important determinative factor in screening for cancer. Family history may be indicative of a hereditary trait that can lead to colorectal cancer; therefore, family history is very important to your doctor. You should be accurate and your physician should be diligent in following up where family history so indicates. If there is a family history of Lynch syndrome, the standard of care would require a screening colonoscopy every 1 to 2 years starting at age 21. Others without a family history of colon cancer should begin screening with colonoscopy by age 50. Other colorectal cancers are caused by spontaneous (rather than inherited) gene mutations. Also, some studies demonstrate that women on hormonal replacement therapy (“HRT”) are less likely to develop cancer, but those women on HRT are more likely to experience aggressive growth of cancer if it is present, thus creating a greater risk of death. Genetic testing may also help determine which members of a family with a family history of colorectal cancer are at greater risk.
Ashkenazi Jews with l1307K APC gene mutation are at a slightly greater risk of developing colorectal cancer, and the increased risk has been associated with the need for earlier and more regularized screening than in normal adults.
The American Cancer Society provides a very thorough and easily understandable summary of the recommended standards for screening for colorectal cancer:
If you or a loved one has had the misfortune of being diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and after reviewing this material together with the standards of the American Cancer Society, you believe that your physician has failed to take a proper family history; has taken a family history and has failed to follow screening guideline; has failed to recommend other standard screening tests such as the Fecal Occult Blood Test, flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy; has delayed in ordering such tests; or has failed to promptly investigate complaints of blood in your stool, then you may have reason to contact our medical malpractice lawyers in Stamford, Connecticut. Our attorneys can have your medical records reviewed to determine if your physician has deviated from the accepted standard of care and put you or your loved one in peril.
For further information on colorectal cancer, please refer to the following websites:
Failure to Diagnose Breast Cancer
Through medical malfeasance (or misbehavior), an improper breast cancer diagnosis can be made, or a proper one can be made late. If this occurs, it is appropriate for the patient or her (or his, because males can also develop breast cancer) estate to contact a medical malpractice attorney to pursue a claim. The risk of breast cancer is significant; indeed, some studies show that one in seven women will have breast cancer.
A patient generally discovers breast cancer in one of two ways: 1) during self-examination or 2) during routine examination by a gynecologist or other health care provider with the examination including mammogram, ultrasound, and/or MRI. mammogram. Women age 40 and older should have regular mammograms. Self-examination is not an adequate substitute for mammography.
Should a clinical examination reveal a suspicious change in the breast tissue, the examining physician should make a referral for a proper follow-up examination. Some referrals will be for a mammogram. Others may warrant referral to a breast surgeon for needle aspiration (where a needle is used to collect or drain tissue) of a mass, or other forms of biopsy.
Mammograms are performed for two purposes. One is a screening mammogram where a patient undergoes evaluation when she has no symptoms indicative of breast cancer. Her breast x-rays are compared from one exam to another to see if there are any changes. Usually, with a screening mammogram, two images are taken of each breast. If a screening mammogram shows that there have been changes from a prior study, then the patient may undergo a diagnostic mammogram where many more images of each breast are taken and there may be a magnified view of certain areas.
Mammogram findings may include a mass, the size, shape, and contours of which may be indicative of cancer. A mass that is round and smooth and has clearly defined edges may more likely be benign. A mammogram may also show calcifications, which reflect the buildup of mineral deposits. Macro calcifications are large calcium deposits typically attributable to the normal aging process, while microcalcifications are tiny specks of calcium frequently associated with rapidly dividing cells, which may be indicative of cancer. A majority of microcalcifications are benign, but they must be analyzed. Depending upon the extent of calcification, the treating physician may need to order a different type of mammogram that permits a more detailed examination of the breast, and another screening mammogram within six months, or further testing such as an ultrasound, PET scan, or a biopsy. It is very important for a patient to understand that a mammogram is not failsafe. As many as 80 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer had a false negative interpretation of the mammogram. False-negative mammograms may be the result of a) dense breast tissue, which makes the images difficult to read; b) technical problems with the equipment; and c) interpretive errors by the radiologist. Regardless of the outcome of a mammogram, it is critically important that a woman remain vigilant in performing a routine breast self-examination.
An interpretive error in reading a mammogram would be the basis for a legitimate lawsuit filed by our team of medical malpractice lawyers in Stamford, Connecticut. To help avoid such errors, radiologists should: double-read mammograms, use Computer-Aided Detection (“CAD”), and use ultrasound and digital mammography. Suspicious lesions may also be detected using magnetic resonance imaging (“MRI”) with contrast and Molecular Imaging.
In addition to mammograms, there has been an increase in the use of magnetic resonance imaging (“MRI”). The MRI is a more sensitive diagnostic test than the mammogram. The American Cancer Society (“ACS”), in an article dated March 28, 2007, has advised that women who are at high risk for developing breast cancer should be screened by MRI in addition to undergoing mammography. It is estimated that MRI can detect an additional 3% of malignant lesions not detected by a mammogram. The American Cancer Society does not recommend MRI screening for all women, as the MRI can also be responsible for many “false positive” readings. This means that questionable areas may be identified that, in the absence of the increased risk, may not be cancerous at all. One might question the efficacy (effectiveness) of such a recommendation, but it may be important for a standard of care issue in a malpractice case. However, many women may want to choose to have a more thorough evaluation. This is particularly true in light of a peer-reviewed study published in the August 11, 2007 issue of the internationally renowned British medical journal The Lancet. That study reports successful identification of ductal carcinoma in situ (“DCIS”) in 92% of the cases evaluated by MRI, as compared to a 56% successful detection rate by mammography.
Routine breast examination and screenings will not prevent breast cancer. the goal is to identify suspicious lesions to facilitate early intervention that may include chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy, and targeted therapy that can attack breast cancer cells without harming normal cells. The science underlying treatment of breast cancer has evolved significantly over the last twenty years, but in the absence of early diagnosis, treatment may be unsuccessful. Some of the most innovative treatments can be found in open access medical journal articles including Retecki K, et al.. The Immune Landscape of Breast Cancer: Strategies for Overcoming Immunotherapy Resistance, Cancers (Basel), 2021 Nov 29, 13(23):6012.
If the physician(s) fail to diagnose breast cancer in a timely manner, the outcome could obviously be disastrous. Our medical malpractice attorneys in Stamford, Connecticut will attempt to prove the validity of your claim based upon expert testimony concerning both the breach of the standard of care and causation. Causation is essentially a determination of the probable outcome of the disease had it been diagnosed in time, and comparing it to the outcome or probable outcome given the delay in the diagnosis.
Countless variables can affect the viability of a medical malpractice case, including the staging of breast cancer; involvement of lymph nodes; types of cancer cells involved; spread of disease to other organs; potential treatment; and general medical condition. It is critical that these issues be explored by competent medical malpractice lawyers to be successful in a claim for failure to diagnose breast cancer. Contact our firm in Stamford, Connecticut to learn more.
For more information about breast cancer, the following are informative websites:
Failure to Diagnose Ovarian Cancer – The Silent Killer
Ovarian cancer can develop unnoticed for an extended period of time. When discovered, it may be too late to cure because of a great risk that cancer will metastasize to other organs. Certain women are at increased risk of developing ovarian cancer. Women who have a genetic predisposition (family history) should obtain genetic counseling and screen with the BRCA1 and BRCA2 tests. Women who also have a family history of colon or breast cancer are at increased risk, as are older women. Please be aware that a PAP smear does not test for ovarian cancer.
In the face of increased risk factors, a physician, particularly an ob-gyn, should prescribe periodic ultrasounds and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (“MRI”) to increase the potential for early detection.
Early detection of ovarian cancer is challenging. Reports of certain symptoms that persist nearly every day for more than two to three weeks should not be ignored. The symptoms that might be a sign of concern include pelvic or abdominal pain, bloating not associated with the menstrual cycle, difficulty eating or achieving a feeling of being full quickly, and feeling a frequent or urgent need to urinate. It is important to emphasize that the symptoms identified should be new and significantly different than the customary state of health, and at the same time, it should be recognized that the existence of such symptoms does not necessarily mean that the patient has ovarian cancer. However, the existence of such symptoms should prompt a visit to a gynecologist. These warning signs have been endorsed by numerous cancer-related organizations and should establish a new standard of care for the early detection of ovarian cancer. These new standards are part of a new aggressive approach for early detection and have been prompted by horror stories that have occurred in situations where physicians have ignored patient complaints of these symptoms.
If you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and your physician was previously aware of the existence of any of the risk factors noted above and did not take appropriate diagnostic steps, or if you presented to a physician with the symptoms identified above, then it may be appropriate to explore whether or not your doctor treated you properly. The experienced medical malpractice attorneys with our Stamford, Connecticut firm of Casper & de Toledo can assist you in that determination.
For more information on ovarian cancer, please refer to the following websites:
Failure to Diagnose an Impending Heart Attack
Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. It ranks as the leading cause of death in the 65 years and older age group and the second leading cause of death in the 25 to 64-year-old age group. The term cardiovascular disease includes much more than heart attack (also known as myocardial infarction or “MI”). It also includes irregular heartbeat (arrhythmias), heart failure, congenital heart disease, high blood pressure, and peripheral artery disease. Some of these conditions are sometimes referred to as Acute Coronary Syndrome or “ACS.”
If you or someone you know is suffering from this, do not hesitate to contact us today.
How Am I at Risk for a Heart Attack?
There are several widely accepted risk factors for coronary heart disease, including increasing age, gender (male more common than female, although female risk rises with age, particularly after menopause), and heredity. The factors also include race, smoking, elevated blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, lack of exercise, obesity, and diabetes mellitus. Other things that can be triggering factors for a heart attack are physical or emotional stress and excessive consumption of alcohol.
What Are the Signs of an Impending Heart Attack?
Symptoms of a heart attack or an impending heart attack can include discomfort in the chest that lasts for a few minutes or comes and goes. The discomfort can be uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, or pain; it can be discomfort in the upper part of the body such as the back, neck, or jaw; pain in one or both arms; or pain in the stomach with a feeling like indigestion. Symptoms may also include shortness of breath, with or without discomfort in the chest. The patient may also experience nausea, lightheadedness, or a cold sweat.
What Is a Proper Diagnosis for a Heart Attack?
Diagnosis by a health care professional may require a complete medical and social history, an EKG, an ECG to discover abnormalities in the heart, and blood work to determine the presence of specific blood enzymes that would indicate if a heart attack were in progress. Premature discharge from care, including from the Emergency Department of a hospital, could result in severe heart damage or death. Also, there are treatments that can be provided that can prevent heart damage and death, such as the use of clot-dissolving drugs known as Tissue Plasminogen Activators or “TPA.”
Racial or Ethnic Discrimination and Failure to Diagnose
Tragically, provision of medcial services that impact diagnosis and treatment are not uniform and mat be impacted by the racial and/or ethnic status of a patient. There are studies in peer-reviewed literature that confirm these claims. De Rose C. et al. Time for Inclusion of Racial and Gender Discrimination in Routine Clinical Assessment. J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2021 Aug; 8(4): 803-808. Your medical malpractice claim might be intertwined with acts of actual or implicit bias and actual discrimination.
Contact Our Failure to Diagnose Lawyers
Did health care providers deviate from the accepted standard of care in your case? Contact the experienced Stamford, Connecticut lawyers at Casper & de Toledo.