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Failure to Diagnose Breast Cancer

Baltimore Attorneys Representing People Injured by Medical Malpractice

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer affecting women in the United States. When diagnosed at an early stage, breast cancer is often treatable, but when a doctor fails to properly diagnose this condition, the consequences are often devastating. If you suffered harm or lost a loved one due to a physician’s failure to diagnose breast cancer, you may be able to pursue claims for damages from the physician and should speak to a lawyer. At Arfaa Law Group, our Baltimore medical malpractice attorneys help people injured by the negligence of doctors and other healthcare providers seek compensation in civil lawsuits. If you engage our services, we will work with you in pursuing the damages you may be able to collect.

Damages Caused by the Failure to Diagnose Breast Cancer

Typically, doctors recommend that women begin undergoing mammograms at a certain age to screen for breast cancer. However, some women who are considered to have a high risk of developing breast cancer undergo additional screening or earlier testing. If a woman or man presents with symptoms such as pain, nipple discharge, or a lump, a doctor may order diagnostic testing as well. Typically, if a patient’s diagnostic imaging reveals anything that gives a doctor cause for concern, the doctor will order a biopsy to determine if the patient is suffering from cancer. If a doctor fails to conduct appropriate diagnostic tests, however, or does not escalate testing when diagnostic imaging results indicate potential cancer, it may result in the failure to diagnose. Breast cancer that is not diagnosed and, therefore not treated, will often spread throughout the breast and, in some cases, to other parts of the body. Thus, when the cancer is ultimately diagnosed, the patient may have to undergo invasive treatments, the cancer may be difficult to treat, and in many cases, fatal.

Elements of a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

A patient that is harmed by a physician’s failure to diagnose breast cancer can seek damages via a medical malpractice lawsuit. In Maryland, a plaintiff seeking to hold a physician liable for medical malpractice generally must prove that the physician had a duty to uphold the applicable standard of care, but that the physician acted or failed to act in a manner that is considered a departure from the standard of care.

The standard of care that applies in a medical malpractice case is the care that a competent practitioner in the same specialty would provide when presented with the same scenario. For example, if a capable radiologist examining the results of a patient’s mammogram would have recommended that the patient undergo a biopsy, the failure to recommend a biopsy may constitute a breach of the standard of care. As most people are not familiar with the standard of care that applies to physicians, expert testimony is usually required to establish the standard and the manner in which a defendant deviated from the standard.

A plaintiff in a medical malpractice lawsuit must not only prove that the defendant breached the applicable standard of care, but also that the breach proximately caused his or her harm, which means that a plaintiff must prove his or her harm would not have arisen absent the breach. Proving causation generally requires expert testimony as well. A plaintiff that successfully demonstrates a defendant should be held liable for failing to diagnose breast cancer may recover damages such as the cost of past and future medical treatment, lost wages, and compensation for the pain, mental anguish and suffering caused by the defendant’s negligence. If a plaintiff was married when he or she suffered harm, the plaintiff’s spouse may be owed compensation as well.

Speak to a Maryland Lawyer

If you sustained damages or lost a loved one because of a doctor’s failure to diagnose a medical condition, it is prudent to speak to an attorney regarding your rights. The Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers of Arfaa Law Group proudly help people harmed by a doctor’s negligent failure to provide competent medical care seek recourse via civil lawsuits. We have an office in Baltimore, where we regularly represent parties in medical malpractice cases. We can be contacted through our form online or by calling 410-889-1850 to set up a consultation.