The negligent failure to diagnose cancer is a medical error that usually has grave consequences for the patient. Negligently misdiagnosing cancer is equally dangerous because it also delays the treatment of the real disease.

At Dempsey Kingsland & Osteen, our Kansas City medical malpractice lawyers have helped numerous people whose illness has been made worse by the misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose cancer.

With cancer treatment, time is of the essence. Negligent misdiagnosis or delays in treatment of cancer can turn treatable cancer into a cancer that has spread, not only leading to more treatment, but sometimes to incurable cancer or death.

Contact our Kansas City cancer misdiagnosis attorneys to discuss your case during a free initial consultation. Call us at (816) 484-3776.

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Types of Cancer Misdiagnosis

While estimates vary, likely more than 100,000 Americans die or are permanently disabled each year due to medical diagnoses that initially miss conditions or are wrong or delayed.

A research team led by an expert from the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality identified three major disease categories — vascular events, infections, and cancers — that account for nearly three-fourths of all serious harms from diagnostic errors.

There are generally two ways in which a cancer misdiagnosis can occur. The first scenario is a wrongful diagnosis of cancer.

This happens when a doctor, radiologist, pathologist, or any provider involved in the patient’s care mistakenly diagnoses a healthy individual with cancer.  

The second—more common scenario—occurs if the physician or medical provider fails to catch indicators of cancer and ultimately fails to diagnose the patient. In other words, they mistakenly tell someone with cancer that they do not have cancer. 

In the second scenario, the consequences can be tragic and fatal to the patient if their cancer goes undiagnosed until it is too late to treat or prevent the spread.

It can also subject the individual to unnecessary and avoidable pain and suffering that could have been controlled with proper medication and treatment. 

Understanding the types of diagnostic errors can help you recognize if you or a loved one has been a victim of a cancer misdiagnosis in Kansas City, MO.

If you suspect a misdiagnosis, seeking legal advice from an experienced Kansas City cancer misdiagnosis lawyer can help you navigate your options and pursue justice.

Diagnostic Errors in Cancer

Cancer misdiagnosis is a serious issue that can have devastating consequences for patients. Diagnostic errors can occur at various stages, leading to missed, delayed, or incorrect diagnoses.

These errors often result in improper treatment plans, delayed care, and increased patient suffering. Understanding the different types of diagnostic errors is crucial for recognizing their impact and taking appropriate legal action.

Missed Diagnosis

A missed diagnosis happens when a doctor fails to identify the presence of cancer. This can occur due to inadequate testing, misinterpreting test results, or not considering cancer as a potential diagnosis.

When cancer goes undetected, it continues to progress unchecked, leading to more severe health issues and reducing the chances of successful treatment.

Delayed Diagnosis

A delayed diagnosis occurs when there is a significant lapse in time before the cancer is correctly identified. This delay can be due to slow test results, failure to follow up on abnormal findings, or initial misinterpretation of symptoms.

The longer the delay, the more advanced the cancer becomes, making it harder to treat and diminishing the likelihood of a positive outcome.

Incorrect Diagnosis

An incorrect diagnosis is when a patient is wrongly diagnosed with a different type of cancer or another condition entirely.

This can lead to inappropriate treatment, which not only fails to address the actual cancer but also subjects the patient to unnecessary procedures and potential harm. Correcting the diagnosis often involves additional time and resources, delaying the proper treatment.

Recognizing these diagnostic errors is essential for understanding the full scope of misdiagnosis and pursuing a medical malpractice claim.

Each type of error can have a profound impact on a patient’s health and quality of life, emphasizing the need for accurate and timely diagnosis in cancer care.

Causes of Cancer Diagnosis Errors

Some of the most common cancer diagnosis mistakes include:

  • Failure to identify an obvious lump during a breast examination
  • Not ordering x-rays, CT scans, or MRIs
  • Failure to properly read or evaluate test results, such as Pap smears, mammograms, or MRIs
  • Not recognizing common symptoms of a type of cancer
  • Mistaking a tumor for an infection or diagnosing the tumor as benign
  • Failing to follow up on test results
  • Neglecting to order a biopsy or other tests
  • Not following up with the patient or ordering future tests

At Dempsey Kingsland Osteen, our attorneys have handled a wide range of cancer diagnosis cases. Recent cases include those involving colon cancer, breast cancer, and Hodgkin’s disease. Visit our results page to learn about our cancer misdiagnosis cases.

Common Types of Misdiagnosed Cancer

Cancers such as breast cancer, colon cancer, cervical cancer, and prostate cancer are among the most frequently misdiagnosed or diagnosed at a late stage.

Our law firm has handled these types of cancer misdiagnosis cases and more, obtaining financial awards for clients and their families that allowed them to start recovering with less financial worry.

What You Need to Prove in a Cancer Misdiagnosis Medical Malpractice Claim

To pursue a medical malpractice claim for cancer misdiagnosis in Kansas City, several key elements must be established.

  • Duty of care—you must prove that the healthcare provider owed you a duty of care, generally established by the doctor-patient relationship;
  • Breach of duty—you need to show that the healthcare provider breached the standard of care expected in the medical community by failing to order appropriate tests or misinterpreting test results;
  • Causation—it’s essential to demonstrate that the breach of duty directly caused your injury or worsened your condition. This means proving that the misdiagnosis led to harm that would not have occurred otherwise; and
  • Damages—you must provide evidence of the damages you suffered due to the misdiagnosis, including additional medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Proving these elements can be complex and requires detailed evidence and expert testimony. With the proper legal support from the Kansas City misdiagnosis lawyers at Dempsey Kingsland & Osteen, you can effectively demonstrate how the misdiagnosis has impacted your life and secure the compensation you deserve.

Cancer Misdiagnosis Compensation Amounts

Cancer misdiagnosis compensation amounts in Kansas City can vary widely based on several factors. Compensation can cover:

  • Medical expenses—costs for additional treatments, surgeries, medications, and ongoing care; 
  • Lost wages—income lost due to the inability to work during treatment and recovery.
  • Rehabilitation costs—expenses for physical, occupational, and other rehabilitation services; and
  • Pain and suffering—compensation for the physical pain and emotional distress caused by the misdiagnosis and its consequences.

The amount of compensation depends on the severity of the misdiagnosis, the impact on the patient’s life, and the effectiveness of the legal representation.

An experienced cancer misdiagnosis lawyer in Kansas City can help maximize the compensation you receive.

Proving a Cancer Misdiagnosis  

In any cancer medical malpractice lawsuit, including a misdiagnosis, you have the burden to prove your case as the plaintiff. 

If a physician, radiologist, pathologist, or other healthcare provider misdiagnoses a patient and another provider with the same or similar skill and experience would have likely made an accurate diagnosis, it may be medical malpractice.

A plaintiff must prove:

  • A doctor-patient relationship existed, giving rise to a duty to provide reasonable care;
  • The doctor or provider negligently failed to diagnose cancer, breaching that duty;
  • The doctor or provider’s error caused injury and harm, and
  • The harm caused by the misdiagnosis caused compensable damages. 

For instance, if the misdiagnosis caused your cancer to spread or become incurable, you may have a valid claim for medical malpractice. 

Cancer Misdiagnosis Statute of Limitations

Every state has a statute of limitation or deadline for a victim to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. In Missouri and Kansas, you generally have two years from the date of injury to bring your claim to court. Otherwise, you will be barred from pursuing damages. 

Lawmakers recognize that medical malpractice claims pose unique challenges under many circumstances because a patient does not immediately know about their injury or that it is due to medical provider error. However, these challenges do not provide for an indefinite time frame for filing your lawsuit. 

The Discovery Rule and Statutes of Repose 

Generally, the two-year statute of limitations does not begin to run until the patient discovers or reasonably should have discovered the negligence.

However, both Missouri and Kansas impose an ultimate deadline for filing—a statute of repose—that applies even if you do not discover the negligence until later.

Under Missouri’s statute of repose, a patient cannot file a medical malpractice claim if more than ten years have passed since the medical error, regardless of when the injury was discovered. In Kansas, a patient cannot file more than four years after the error.

Exceptions to the Two-Year Statute of Limitations for Cancer Misdiagnosis Lawsuits

There are several exceptions to the general two-year statute, but there are three that most often come into play in a cancer misdiagnosis case. 

Minors: If the plaintiff is under 18, they typically have until their 20th birthday—or two years from the day they turn 18—to file their medical malpractice claim.  

Wrongful death: If the misdiagnosis results in the patient’s death, their family will have up to three years to pursue a malpractice claim. 

Failure to inform: If the basis for the misdiagnosis claim is the provider failed to notify the patient of medical test results, the statute begins to run either two years from the date of the discovery of the alleged negligence OR from the date in which the patient, in the exercise of ordinary care, should have discovered the failure to inform, whichever date comes first.

Cancer misdiagnosis cases can be some of the most challenging and complex medical malpractice claims. Speaking with a knowledgeable attorney to protect your rights and options is imperative.

How a Cancer Misdiagnosis Lawyer in Kansas City Can Help

A cancer misdiagnosis lawyer in Kansas City can provide essential support and guidance throughout the legal process. At Dempsey Kingsland & Osteen, we thoroughly review your medical records and consult with our in-house medical professionals to understand the details of your case.

We gather all necessary evidence, including medical records, expert testimonies, and witness statements, to build a strong case.

Our team represents you in negotiations with insurance companies and in court, fighting to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Throughout the process, we provide ongoing support and keep you informed, ensuring you understand your options and the progress of your case.

Why Dempsey Kingsland Osteen Is the Best Choice for Your Cancer Misdiagnosis Case

Dempsey Kingsland Osteen is known as the premier law firm for medical malpractice and catastrophic injury cases in Kansas City.

Our trial lawyers, Leland DempseyRobert Kingsland, and Jason Osteen, bring more than 100 years of combined experience and have a record of significant verdicts and settlements in a wide range of cases, including medical malpractice, vaccine injuries, nursing home negligence, and vehicle collisions.

Our lawyers have extensive hands-on experience in personal injury and medical malpractice litigation. We have an exclusive relationship with two medical professionals who are deeply involved in evaluating our cases.

Our large, dedicated staff takes pride in offering personal service and accessibility to our clients. Conveniently located in Kansas City, we provide free consultations, including evening and weekend appointments.

We also visit seriously injured clients or their family advocates at their homes or hospital rooms.

Our approach is thorough and client-focused, ensuring no stone is left unturned in our investigation. We collaborate with a nationwide network of top professionals, including accident reconstructionists, medical specialists, life care planners, and economists. This team approach helps us maximize the compensation we obtain for our clients.

Choosing DKO means partnering with a team of advocates dedicated to achieving the best possible outcome for your case.

We are committed to providing compassionate and comprehensive legal support, guiding you through every step of the process. Trust a cancer misdiagnosis attorney at our office to handle your case with the skill and dedication it deserves.

To learn how we can put this experience to work for you, contact a medical malpractice misdiagnosis lawyer at Dempsey Kingsland Osteen. Call us at (816) 484-3776.

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