If My Cancer Was Previously Misdiagnosed, Can the Doctor Be Held Liable?
If a doctor fails to detect your cancer in its initial stages, this mistake may be reasonable, as some cancers are not apparent initially. However, any competent doctor has a legal and moral obligation to use all the testing at their disposal to detect and predict your cancer’s existence.
If your cancer is not detected, it commonly will cause more severe damage or even death, which may have been mitigated or prevented. Also, many new preventative measures and tests are easily performed today, so there is no reason to order maximum procedures even if your cancer is suspected.
In Delaware, “failure to diagnose” is a singular type of malpractice where (for whatever reason) your doctor fails to take all necessary measures to determine your illness. It’s also possible that your doctor did the testing but failed to diagnose your condition correctly.
Medical malpractice cases are always challenging and must prove that the negligence of your doctor or healthcare professional caused you, as the patient, harm and that they owed you a “duty of care” that they did not uphold.
So, the simple answer is that if your doctor missed your cancer diagnosis, they may be sued, and you can sometimes be significantly compensated for your loss. However, the Delaware statutes pertaining to malpractice cases are detailed, complex, and stringent. You must have a knowledgeable Delaware malpractice lawyer’s advice, expertise, and guidance to litigate your case successfully.
What Is an “Affidavit of Merit” and Why Is It Included In My Malpractice Lawsuit?
As your experienced malpractice lawyer will explain, some medical malpractice cases are more “cut and dry.” For example, leaving an object in your body after surgery or prescribing the wrong medication. Although still legally challenging, proving a misdiagnosis malpractice case is even more legally problematic.
Therefore, in all Delaware malpractice cases, the statutes state that all medical malpractice lawsuits must be accompanied by an “affidavit of merit” from an expert witness in the medical matter in question.
This added, but necessary document must;
- Be executed and signed by a medical professional who qualifies as an expert witness in the matter at hand under Delaware law.
- Include all the expert’s current “curriculum vitae,” defining their qualifications, experience, and expertise in medical matters.
- Must show that the expert has “reasonable grounds” that the medical professional in question committed medical negligence when treating your case and failed to treat or misdiagnose you (as the plaintiff). The expert must state, and help your law team prove, that they have reasonable grounds “to believe that your applicable standard of care was breached,” which caused you injury or harm, and also that this breach was the primary and proximate cause of your injury or harm.
At times, these affidavits may be challenging to obtain, and If “reasonable cause” is shown, the Delaware court may grant a 60-day extension to file the document. Myriad medical records, treatment plans, tests, and other medical documents may have to be reviewed for the expert witness to come to their conclusion.
Your Delaware malpractice lawyer, experienced in these cases, will be aware of all the documents, records, and information needed to file and aggressively pursue your rights in these cases successfully.
What Is the Statute Of Limitations For My Cancer Misdiagnosis Lawsuit?
The Delaware “Statute of Limitations” is when you must file your medical malpractice or negligence lawsuit. In cases involving cancer, however, this “time period” can be legally tricky as you may have cancer but not be aware of the condition for months or years.
The usual Statute of Limitations in Delaware for medical negligence lawsuits is two years, beginning on the date of your injury (or misdiagnosis). It can be three years if the damage is unknown to you and could not have been discovered within two years from the date of the injury.
In the case involving cancer misdiagnosis, however, you theoretically could go years without the proper treatment for your misdiagnosed disease and have it worsen over that time; so, what do you do?
Delaware statutes have some conditions that your lawyer may use to extend the usual statute of limitations, but they are legally complex and challenging.
For example, the “continuous negligent medical treatment doctrine” may apply in cases where there was a continuous course of improper treatment (due to your misdiagnosis) so intertwined that it would be illogical to break it up into individual acts of negligence. Here, the statute of limitations begins on the date of the last negligent act in the continuum of negligent medical care.
Therefore, you may be able to file a lawsuit for consequences over negligent conduct. However, under the continuous negligent medical treatment doctrine, there are stringent legal rules to abide by, and the advice, guidance, and experience of your Delaware medical malpractice law team will be invaluable.
How Can I Hold a Doctor Accountable For My Cancer Misdiagnosis?
This is where your medical malpractice lawyer’s experience and aggressive litigation will be mandatory to draft, present, and win your case successfully.
We all know that for most cancers, the early and correct diagnosis and resulting treatment will make a significant difference in your prognosis. Therefore, your doctor must produce an accurate and correct diagnosis as soon as possible. If your doctor doesn’t dig deep enough into your condition, they may miss the connection between your symptoms and the medical condition; therefore, you do not receive the proper medical treatment to lessen or defeat your disease.
If you’ve suffered ongoing harm from your doctor’s failure to diagnose, your lawyer will prove that your physician owed you a duty of care, they breached that duty of care, and you suffered an injury. Accordingly, your injury was a direct result of the doctor’s breach.
All cancer medical malpractice lawsuits involve complex legal, ethical, and medical issues. As in any medical malpractice claim, delayed diagnosis of cancer lawsuits requires a sophisticated, experienced, and comprehensive team of legal malpractice professionals who have experience collaborating closely with medical specialists and experts.
Your future may depend on your case’s successful outcome, so it’s mandatory to have the most experienced Delaware medical malpractice law team on your side from beginning to end.
My Cancer Was Misdiagnosed; How Should I Proceed?
You must consult with a resourceful, experienced, and thorough Delaware medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. Obtain a free case evaluation involving a full analysis of your delayed or misdiagnosed cancer claim.
The Delaware medical malpractice lawyers at Hudson, Castle, & Inkell, LLC have a history of successfully representing victims of misdiagnosis cases. Time is not on your side, so call them today at (302) 428-8800 and get your future back on an optimistic track.