Lung Cancer Misdiagnosis Claims
Being diagnosed with lung cancer is a devastating and emotional experience, often blanketed in fear and concern. If the cancer had been misdiagnosed, the trauma of recognising the impact that this could have had on your health, wellbeing and prognosis could be significant. Although doctors work incredibly hard to provide the best services to patients, they occasionally make mistakes and if this has happened to you and your cancer was not diagnosed quickly, your treatment was not administered properly, or your symptoms were not acknowledged as being cancer, you may be eligible to make a claim for compensation.
The following article explains lung cancer misdiagnosis claims more thoroughly, including who may be eligible to make a claim, the causes of misdiagnosis and the ways in which a claim may be arranged.
Types of Lung Cancer
There are many different types of lung cancer, and each is divided into one of two categories: small cell lung cancer and non small cell lung cancer. Around a tenth of all lung cancers are small cell, and this type of the cancer spreads early and is usually treated without surgery, using chemotherapy.
Non-small cell lung cancers fall into a further three types: squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma and large cell carcinoma. The most common type of lung cancer is squamous cell, which develops from the airways’ cells and is usually located in the centre of the lungs.
Lung Cancer Symptoms
There are several key symptoms presented by many lung cancer patients, and a doctor who fails to associate these symptoms with cancer and take appropriate steps may be considered to have been medically negligent. Some of the most common symptoms suffered by lung cancer patients include:
- A persistent cough that does not subside after two weeks
- An ongoing cough that gets increasingly worse
- Aches and pains when breathing in or coughing
- Persistent tiredness
- Coughing up blood
- Ongoing breathlessness
- Appetite and weight changes
Additionally, the following less common symptoms may be signs of lung cancer and should cause doctors to investigate further:
- Problems swallowing or pain and discomfort when swallowing
- Changes to the voice
- Chest and shoulder pain
- Swollen neck and face
- Ongoing high temperature
- Changes to the appearance of your fingers, which can become more curved with lung cancer. This condition is referred to as finger clubbing.
It is important that a doctor evaluates your overall health and carries out tests promptly in order to rule out the possibility of lung cancer. The earlier the condition is diagnosed, the more positive the prognosis will be, and as such, doctors are responsible for ensuring thorough and prompt investigations.
Misdiagnosed Lung Cancer
The earlier lung cancer is detected, the better the outlook will be for you as treatment will be administered sooner and the risk of spreading will be minimised. Unfortunately, doctors sometimes make errors, and this may mean that they misinterpret symptoms or do not carry out adequate tests for you. When misdiagnosis occurs, the physical and emotional distress can be significant, and the potential for further complications and a less favourable prognosis increases.
Some of the reasons that lung cancer is misdiagnosed include:
- Incorrect interpretation of test results
- Failure of doctors to associate symptoms with the disease
- Failure to carry out thorough investigations
- Diagnosing a different condition which masks the need for further tests
- Failure to refer a patient to a specialist
All medical staff have a legal duty of care to their patients, and a breach of this responsibility could amount to medical negligence if it results in avoidable pain and suffering to the patient. In these circumstances, it may be possible to pursue a claim for medical negligence compensation.
How to Make a Claim for Lung Cancer Misdiagnosis
If you believe that your lung cancer was not diagnosed promptly or correctly, or that you received a substandard level of service from a doctor or other medical professional, you may be able to make a claim for compensation if the failures led to further suffering or a poorer prognosis.
For a solicitor to negotiate compensation on your behalf, it will be necessary to build a case against the doctor or hospital where the duty of care owed to you was breached. This is done through the collection of evidence and information, including medical assessments from experts. This will be required to confirm whether the errors suffered led to a worsened condition of your health or additional pain and suffering that should have been avoided.
The amount of compensation that is awarded to you will depend upon the severity of the suffering that has been caused by the misdiagnoses or late diagnosis of cancer. Your solicitor will seek to secure the highest awards possible by demonstrating the failures in the duty of care and the level of implications that this has had on your life.