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Trecker & Fritz Attorneys at Law

Failure to Diagnose Cancer is One of The Most Common Forms Of Medical Malpractice in Hawaii

Early detection of cancer is crucial to a patient’s survival. In fact, one of the most common forms of medical malpractice we see in Hawaii is failure to diagnose cancer in time for it to be successfully treated. The failure to diagnose may be the result of ignoring a patient’s symptoms, failure to order diagnostic tests, or misreading of tests by the doctor or other health-care provider.

Any delays may lead a patient down a dark road that leads to, at best, more aggressive and painful treatments, and at worst, death. The American Cancer Society states that a delay of even three months in cancer diagnosis greatly elevates the mortality rate. The patient may also be subject to much more emotional and financial hardship as well.

Some cancers do not lend themselves easily to a claim of medical malpractice because they show up so suddenly and pervasively, they could not reasonably be expected to be caught in time to be treated and cured. Others are simply not amenable to treatment. Liver and pancreatic cancer often fall under these categories.

Failure-to-Diagnose Does Not Always Mean Malpractice Was Committed

The key to proving a Hawaii failure-to-diagnose-cancer medical malpractice case is showing that the failure to diagnose cancer was the primary cause of the patient’s injuries. Legally speaking, if the delay did not result in harm, then medical malpractice was not committed.

Whether the patient is deemed to have been harmed by the delay is dependent upon various factors, including:

  • The duration of the delay in diagnosis.
  • Whether the cancer has spread (it may be difficult to prove that the cancer would not have metastasized had it been diagnosed earlier).
  • The specific type of cancer and its prognosis when detected early.

A plaintiff patient must also prove that there was a doctor-patient relationship to the extent that it was incumbent upon the doctor to exercise a reasonable duty of care; the doctor breached the duty of care; and the patient was injured.

If a patient is successful in demonstrating medical malpractice, he/she may recover economic damages to cover medical bills (pas and futue), lose wages (past and future), medical equimpent, home care, and rehabilitation. Pain and suffering and punitive damages may also be awarded.

If you believe you were the victim of failure-to-diagnose-cancer medical malpractice, promptly consult with a Hawaii medical malpractice attorney to protect your rights.