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Failure to Diagnose Thyroid Cancer

Attorneys Helping Medical Malpractice Victims in Baltimore

Thyroid cancer is a treatable disease that is rarely fatal when it is identified at an early stage. Generally, patients do not undergo screening tests for thyroid cancer but must rely on their health care providers to identify symptoms that may indicate cancer and perform any tests needed to obtain a diagnosis. When doctors do not take the measures necessary to get an accurate diagnosis though, thyroid cancer often goes undetected and eventually spreads, causing long-term debilitating issues. If you sustained losses due to a physician’s failure to diagnose thyroid cancer, you have the right to seek damages, and it is advisable to speak to a lawyer about your potential claims. The Baltimore medical malpractice attorneys of Arfaa Law Group can set forth persuasive arguments on your behalf to help you pursue the best legal outcome available under the facts of your case.

Diagnosing Thyroid Cancer

The signs of thyroid cancer are often subtle, especially in the early stages of the disease. As the cancer grows, though, it can cause a lump in the throat that can be felt and seen, voice changes such as hoarseness, and difficulty swallowing may also be present. It can lead to pain in the throat and neck, and swollen lymph nodes. If a patient presents with any of these symptoms, a doctor should perform certain diagnostic tests to determine whether thyroid cancer may be the cause. Such tests include a physical examination to feel for changes in the thyroid and to determine whether there are risk factors that make the patient more likely to develop cancer, blood tests to determine if the thyroid is functioning properly, and an ultrasound. If the test results indicate abnormalities, a doctor will likely extract tissue from the thyroid to perform a biopsy to determine whether cancer is present.

Demonstrating Harm Caused by the Failure to Diagnose Thyroid Cancer

Doctors are expected to provide their patients with skilled care, which includes taking the steps necessary to identify and treat serious illnesses. As such, if a doctor fails to diagnose a patient with thyroid cancer, it may be considered medical malpractice, and the patient may be owed compensation.

In most cases, a plaintiff pursuing damages in a medical malpractice case will set forth a negligence claim against the defendant. Under Maryland law, to prove a medical negligence claim, a plaintiff must first demonstrate a duty owed by the defendant. Generally, the duty owed is to provide care that meets or exceeds the applicable standard, which is defined as the treatment a reasonable professional working in the same practice area would provide when presented with similar facts. The plaintiff then has to show that the defendant’s behavior shows a departure from the standard of care. Finally, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s breach of the standard of care proximately caused the plaintiff to suffer actual harm. In other words, the plaintiff has to prove that he or she would not have sustained damages if the defendant conformed with the standard of care.

Typically, as most jurors have no independent understanding of the duties imposed on doctors, the plaintiff will need to hire a medical expert to explain the standard and how the defendant deviated from the standard. Expert testimony will likely be needed to link the defendant’s actions and the plaintiff’s harm as well. A plaintiff that successfully demonstrates a defendant is liable may be awarded economic damages, such as the cost of medical care, lost wages, and out-of-pocket expenses, and non-economic damages, which generally compensate the plaintiff for the mental trauma, suffering, and pain endured.

Consult a Trusted Attorney in Baltimore

Patients count on their doctors to notice symptoms that are cause for concern and perform tests to determine whether cancer or another disease is causing their issues. When they do not, the consequences are often tragic. If you were harmed due to a physician’s failure to diagnose thyroid cancer, you should consult a lawyer to discuss whether you may be owed compensation. The attorneys of Arfaa Law Group can advise you of your potential claims, and if you hire us, we will advocate aggressively on your behalf. We frequently represent people in medical malpractice lawsuits in Baltimore, where our office is located. You can reach us via our online form or at (410) 889-1850 to set up a conference.