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Why do delayed or misdiagnoses occur?

Cancer is a big concern in the United States. Statistics compiled by The Doctors Group capture how at least 25% of Americans will get diagnosed with cancer during their lifetimes. That same data shows that all but 40% will lose their battle with the disease. Early detection is critical if individuals hope to survive their cancer battles. Doctors often confuse a patient’s symptoms for other conditions aside from cancer, resulting in a patient suing their doctor for medical malpractice.

There are many reasons doctors make delayed or inaccurate diagnoses. It’s not uncommon for physicians to too readily accept a patient’s presenting concerns on face value instead of attempting to investigate the root cause of the problem, something that could shed light on a more serious diagnosis such as cancer.

Physicians are often too eager to defer to the more benign cause of a presenting concern instead of concluding that it’s something more serious. For example, a doctor may quickly write off rectal bleeding as attributable to hemorrhoids or coughing to an upper respiratory infection instead of as something more serious such as rectal or lung cancer.

Doctors may often order additional imaging or lab tests to rule out specific diagnoses, but they often rely too heavily on them. Data compiled by The Doctors Group shows that at least 17% of women may have clean mammograms despite having cancerous breast abnormalities.

Another reason doctors delay their diagnosis of patients’ cancer is that they fail to emphasize how important it is for them to return for further evaluations. A doctor should follow up with patients to ensure that they come back to receive a more thorough assessment and a more definitive diagnosis.

All patients owe it to themselves to see their doctors for regular medical exams and any time that new, persistent concerns present themselves. A doctor must take those signs and symptoms and thoroughly evaluate them to understand their root cause and rule out any more severe diagnoses.

Louisiana law may allow you to sue your physician if they fail to take the necessary steps to identify what afflicts you punctually. A medical malpractice attorney here in Baton Rouge can advise you whether you qualify to file a lawsuit in your unique situation.

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