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Failure to Diagnose Lung Cancer

Attorneys Representing Clients in Baltimore

Lung cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in both men and women, accounting for almost a quarter of all cancer-related fatalities each year. While lung cancer is often treatable when it is caught early on, all too often, it goes undiagnosed until it progresses to a terminal stage. In many instances, the signs and symptoms of lung cancer are present but are missed due to the incompetence of a patient's treating physicians. If you or a loved one suffered losses due to a doctor's failure to diagnose lung cancer, you could be owed substantial damages and should speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. The dedicated Baltimore medical malpractice attorneys of Arfaa Law Group are mindful of the devastating ramifications of a delayed lung cancer diagnosis, and we will fight tirelessly to help you seek the best outcome available under the facts of your case.

Diagnosing Lung Cancer

The primary causes of lung cancer are cigarette smoking, exposure to radon gas, and second-hand smoking. Additionally, people who have family members diagnosed with lung cancer are more susceptible to developing the disease. Many lung cancer patients do not exhibit symptoms in the earliest stages, and their cancer is diagnosed after they undergo an x-ray or CT scan for other health concerns. Thus, a doctor who observes a mass on a patient's lung following a diagnostic test must take the steps needed to determine whether the mass is cancerous.

When the disease progresses, patients will present with symptoms such as a deep and persistent cough, respiratory difficulties and frequent infections, and mucus tinged with blood produced by coughing. People suffering from lung cancer often experience unintended weight loss, fatigue, and swelling of the face, neck, and lymph nodes as well. When patients present with these symptoms or other signs of lung cancer, doctors should order chest x-rays to determine whether there are any abnormalities of the lungs. In some instances, they will order CT scans or MRIs to obtain more detailed views of the patients' lungs. If a mass is present, a patient will typically undergo a biopsy to determine whether it is cancerous.

Claims Arising out of the Failure to Diagnose Lung Cancer

If a doctor neglects to diagnose a patient with lung cancer, it may spread throughout the body, making it very difficult or impossible to treat. In many instances, a doctor's failure to diagnose a patient properly constitutes medical malpractice, and the doctor may be held liable for the patient's losses via a civil lawsuit. Usually, a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case will allege that the defendant acted negligently. Proving medical negligence under Maryland law requires a plaintiff to show that the defendant was required to comply with the applicable standard of care, which is the care a competent professional practicing in the same specialty would provide under similar circumstances.

The plaintiff then must show that the defendant breached the duty owed to the plaintiff by providing treatment that fell below the standard of care. For example, suppose the standard requires a radiologist who notices that an x-ray revealed a mass on a patient's lung to recommend a biopsy, and the defendant failed to do so. In that case, the defendant’s actions may constitute a deviation from the standard. Finally, the plaintiff must show that the defendant's breach proximately caused the plaintiff's harm. In other words, that the plaintiff would not have sustained damages if the defendant had provided competent care. Usually, expert testimony is needed to explain the standard of care to the judge or jury and link the defendant's behavior and the plaintiff's losses.

Meet With a Trusted Lawyer in Baltimore

Lung cancer is a devastating disease that is often fatal when it is not diagnosed promptly. If you or someone you loved suffered harm due to a doctor's failure to diagnose lung cancer, you may be able to pursue claims for damages, and it is advisable to meet with a lawyer. At Arfaa Law Group, our trusted attorneys take pride in helping people harmed by medical negligence in the pursuit of damages, and we have the skills and resources needed to help you fight for a just outcome. We have an office in Baltimore, where we frequently represent injured parties in medical malpractice lawsuits. You can reach us through our online form or by calling (410) 889-1850 to schedule a meeting.