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Misdiagnosis malpractice happens in several different ways. It can occur when the doctor misses the diagnosis. A misdiagnosis can involve a delay in making the correct diagnosis. Sometimes, both of these are present in one case. Last, the misdiagnosis can be a failure to make any diagnosis.
As a result of the misdiagnosis, the medical condition worsens. When the doctor discovers the ailment, treating it is much more difficult. Treatment options that may have been available upon early diagnosis may no longer be possible. It sometimes is too late because there are no viable treatment options, or death has occurred.
Misdiagnosis can happen in different treatment settings and with many medical conditions. Some examples of misdiagnosis may be helpful. The Kopec Law firm has repeatedly received calls about misdiagnosis of cancer, aortic aneurysm, and cauda equina syndrome.
A patient often will have symptoms that should lead to a cancer diagnosis. For example, symptoms of lung cancer include chronic cough, chest pain, coughing up blood, and shortness of breath. Symptoms of colon cancer involve blood in stool, diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain.
Cancer starts with a tumor. Suppose the doctor diagnoses lung or colon cancer early. In that case, the tumor may be able to be surgically removed in its entirety. Complete cancer-free healing may be possible.
However, there can be misdiagnosis malpractice if the cancer goes undiagnosed. It will grow and spread to other parts of the body. This spreading is called metastasis and is often considered stage 4 of cancer progression. Once cancer has spread, the treatment options change and the possibility for successful treatment dramatically decreases. Even aggressive radiation and chemotherapy have a low success rate at this stage.
The aorta is the largest artery in the body. It runs from above the heart down through the abdomen. An aortic aneurysm occurs when a bulge forms at a weak point in the aorta wall. Symptoms include shortness of breath, pain at the location, feeling full, and difficulty swallowing.
Imaging tests such as a CT scan or ultrasound can reveal an aortic aneurysm. Surgery can fix the aneurysm by placing a graft at the point of weakness. However, misdiagnosis malpractice may occur if there is a delay in diagnosing an aortic aneurysm. It can rupture, resulting in internal bleeding that can cause death.
Cauda Equina Syndrome
The cauda equina is a group of nerves at the base of the spine that affect the legs, bladder, bowel, and sexual function. Injury or herniation of spinal discs can compress these nerves. This compression, called cauda equina syndrome, causes pain, weakness, and bowel and bladder incontinence.
Cauda equina syndrome symptoms can come on fast and be severe. It can be a medical emergency and require immediate surgery. If there is a delay in diagnosing cauda equina syndrome, it can result in permanent bowel and bladder problems. There can be retention – the inability to go, or incontinence – the inability to hold it. This syndrome also can impair sexual function and even result in paralysis.
The above are just a few examples of misdiagnosis malpractice. It can occur in various treatment settings and with many different medical conditions. If you have been the victim of misdiagnosis, call lawyer Mark Kopec now at 800-604-0704 to discuss your situation.
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