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Is a Delayed Breast Cancer Diagnosis Medical Malpractice?

Attorney Nancy Winkler | 888-644-4288 | Free Consult

If a doctor fails to diagnose breast cancer in a patient in a timely manner and the cancer grows worse, decreasing the patient’s chance of survival, is that considered medical malpractice?

Nancy Winkler is a partner at Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C based in Philadelphia. In this Quick Question, she explains that a delayed breast cancer diagnosis could be considered medical malpractice if the patient significantly suffers due to the delay. If a doctor fails to order or delays ordering a biopsy after an unidentified mass has been discovered in a patient’s mammogram, or if the biopsy is conducted incorrectly, this could result in unnecessary harm and risk to the patient, qualifying as medical malpractice.

To learn more, contact the attorney directly by calling 888-644-4288 or by submitting a contact form on this page. The consultation is free and confidential, and you owe no out-of-pocket attorney fees.

Medical malpractice can result in new or worsened injuries in patients, with the consequences often severe.

Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional fails to provide the same standard of care to a patient that a similarly trained professional in the same situation would reasonably be expected to do. Medical malpractice can occur through negligence or omission, and always causes injury to a patient either in the form of a new injury or the worsening of an old injury or condition.

There are many different kinds of medical malpractice, including doctor errors, bacterial infections, medical negligence, surgical errors such as operating on the wrong body part or leaving objects in the body after surgery, misdiagnosis, and failure to diagnose or delay in diagnosis. In the case of breast cancer, delaying or failing to diagnose the cancer is a common form of medical malpractice. If you suspect the severity of your cancer was worsened by a failure to or delay in diagnosis, you could be eligible to file a medical malpractice claim and should seek legal counsel to protect yourself and your family from further damages.

If a delay in diagnosing breast cancer results in harm to the woman, this is considered medical malpractice.

It is important that women over a certain age are checked regularly for signs of breast cancer. One of the best ways to look for signs of breast cancer is to have a mammogram done, and if a mass is found a biopsy should be ordered by the doctor regardless of the size. However, if a woman has a mammogram with results indicating that breast cancer might be at play, yet the doctor fails to order a biopsy and over time the breast cancer grows worse, decreasing the patient’s chance of survival, this could likely be considered medical malpractice. Similarly, even if a biopsy is ordered by the doctor but is performed incorrectly or the results are misinterpreted leading to the breast cancer continuing to grow to the next stage of cancer, this could also be considered medical malpractice. In this case, the patient should explore filing a medical malpractice claim against the responsible medical professional to seek compensation for their damages.

To learn more, contact Nancy Winkler directly by calling 888-644-4288 or by submitting a contact form on this page. The consultation is free and confidential, and you owe no out-of-pocket attorney fees.

Video Transcript:

Rob Rosenthal:

I'm Rob Rosenthal with AskTheLawyers.com. Here's a Quick Question: when does a delayed diagnosis of breast cancer qualify as medical malpractice? Philadelphia attorney Nancy Winkler has this answer.

Nancy Winkler:

A delay in diagnosing breast cancer can be malpractice if it significantly increases the harm to the woman. For example, if a woman has a mammogram and it's suspicious and a biopsy is not done promptly. Or for example, if she has a mammogram, and nobody says that they need to do a biopsy, and six months, a year go by. And what was initially in that mammogram as a one-centimeter mass has now become a three- or four-centimeter mass and there's a difference in the stage of her cancer, which could mean a difference in her chances of overall survival and it has impacted her chances of survival. Then it is potentially a malpractice claim that needs to be investigated.

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