What happens to a healthy patient wrongly diagnosed with cancer?

Last month, we discussed how radiologists most often have claims of medical malpractice issued against them in relation to breast cancer missed diagnoses. In that post, we discussed the terrible consequences that result when a radiologist allows cancer to go untreated because they determine that a patient is healthy, when in fact scans reflect that the patient has cancer. Victims of this negligence can in some instances see financial compensation for the mistake that often costs them years off of their life.

However, the opposite error can be hugely detrimental as well. When cancer misdiagnosis occurs, meaning a doctor mistakenly tells an individual that is healthy that they have cancer, there can be serious consequences as well. In some instances, a cancer misdiagnosis in Philadelphia means that an individual is subjected to unnecessary and serious medical testing, treatment or surgery that can be disfiguring, painful and even deadly.

Additionally, it is very psychologically damaging. A Danish study looked at 1,300 women that were incorrectly told that they had breast cancer. Following additional testing that definitively ruled out cancer, most women that were victims of misdiagnosis had lingering depression and anxiety. The study author says of the victims, “People don’t trust their body anymore…These women are turned from healthy people to people [at] risk, to people who are close to being sick.”

It is the responsibility of doctors in Pennsylvania and elsewhere to protect the health of their patients. A cancer misdiagnosis can put a patient’s health at risk in a similar manner to that of a missed cancer diagnosis. Accordingly, a victim of either scenario in Pennsylvania could see financial compensation for the suffering and consequences they are made to unnecessarily endure.

Source: ABC News, “Psych Effects Linger After False Positive Mammograms,” Katie Moisse, March 18, 2013



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