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My Stage 1 Cancer Diagnosis Was Delayed: Do I Have A Case?

According to data from the National Cancer Institute, nearly 40 percent of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their life. While a cancer diagnosis is always frightening, the long term prognosis varies dramatically. The outlook will depend on the specific type of cancer and how early it was detected. Early detection of cancer is extremely important. 

This raises an important question: Is a delayed cancer diagnosis medical malpractice? In short, delayed diagnosis of cancer can be the grounds for a medical malpractice claim, but it depends on the specific circumstances. Here, our Albany failure to diagnose cancer attorney explains how you determine if you have a valid medical malpractice case. 

Three Things You Must Prove To Bring A Successful Delayed Cancer Diagnosis Case

Medical malpractice occurs when a physician, hospital, or other medical provider fails to provide proper care resulting in harm to a patient. Delayed diagnosis cases are one of the most common types of medical malpractice claims filed in New York. A doctor who negligently fails to diagnose cancer early puts their patient at serious risk. Here are three key things you must establish to bring a successful medical malpractice case in New York: 

  • A Doctor-Patient Relationship: You can only file a medical malpractice claim if you can prove that you were “under the care” of a health provider. In other words, you must demonstrate that a doctor-patient relationship was established. A medical provider only owes a duty of care when there is a lawful doctor-patient relationship. 
  • Substandard Care Was Provided: The most challenging element in delayed cancer diagnosis claims is proving that substandard care was provided. A doctor, hospital, or other health provider is not liable for medical malpractice simply because they missed a cancer diagnosis. To hold them liable, you must prove that the care they offered was substandard. In other words, you must prove that another doctor or hospital would have been more likely than not to correctly diagnose the cancer in similar circumstances
  • Actual Harm Was Suffered: Finally, medical malpractice requires actual harm to the patient. A plaintiff (patient) must prove that the delay in diagnosis contributed to them suffering a worse health outcome. 

Make No Assumptions About Your Case—Medical Malpractice Is Notoriously Complex

If your cancer diagnosis was delayed, you may not be sure if you have a valid medical malpractice claim. This is normal. Medical malpractice law is complicated. Expert guidance is necessary. Do not assume that you have no options just because a doctor or hospital said that they “did all they could do.” Consult with an attorney. During a free, confidential consultation an experienced New York delayed diagnosis attorney will: 

  • Listen to your story;
  • Answer your questions; 
  • Review medical records and other evidence;
  • Explain the next steps in the process; and
  • Initiate an investigation. 

A New York medical malpractice lawyer will be able to tell you whether or not you have a case that is worth pursuing. Notably, under New York law (CVP § 3012-a), plaintiffs must obtain a certificate of merit to bring a medical malpractice claim. This means that your attorney must personally review the specific facts of your case and consult with at least one qualified physician on the matter. The top medical malpractice law firms in New York are connected with a great network of medical experts who can help to determine if the case is worth pursuing. 

Contact Our New York Medical Malpractice Lawyers For Immediate Help

At Powers & Santola, LLP, our New York medical malpractice attorneys are respected, results-oriented advocates for patients and their families. If your cancer diagnosis was delayed, we are here to help you determine if you have a valid legal claim. Contact us today to set up a free, no commitment assessment of your medical malpractice case. With law office locations in Albany, Syracuse, and Rochester, we represent delayed diagnosis victims throughout all of Upstate New York, including Schenectady County, Saratoga County, Onondaga County, and Monroe County.

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