When a doctor fails to diagnose cancer correctly, he or she subjects the patient to unnecessary risks, more invasive treatments, and other damages. If your doctor misdiagnosed your mesothelioma and you suffered adverse consequences, you might be able to file for medical malpractice. A mesothelioma misdiagnosis lawyer might be able to help.
At Medical Malpractice Help, we can determine if your doctor’s misdiagnosis is considered medical malpractice. If so, we will not hesitate to pursue the compensation you are entitled to for this form of negligence. Call us at 800-916-7333 today for a free consultation about your case.
Facts About Mesothelioma
Malignant mesothelioma affects the thin layer of tissue that covers most of your internal organs. Although there are some limited treatments for mesothelioma, this aggressive cancer is fatal for many people.
If you have a history of asbestos exposure or another risk factor and you tell your doctor about symptoms that are consistent with mesothelioma, your doctor should run diagnostic tests or send you to a specialist for an evaluation. If your doctor did not take the appropriate steps to diagnose mesothelioma, he or she might have committed medical malpractice.
Pleural mesothelioma occurs in the tissue that covers your lungs. Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the tissue that covers organs in your abdomen. Most forms of mesothelioma are pleural or peritoneal.
Since mesothelioma can develop in different parts of the body, the symptoms vary depending on where the cancer is located. Signs of pleural mesothelioma can include:
- Shortness of breath;
- Painful coughing;
- Pain underneath your rib cage;
- Unexplained tissue lumps on your chest under the skin; and
- Unintentional weight loss.
A person with peritoneal mesothelioma might experience:
- Pain and swelling in the abdomen;
- Unusual lumps of tissue in the abdominal area; or
- Weight loss that is not the result of dieting or exercise.
If you reported any of these signs of mesothelioma, your doctor should have performed a physical examination to look for lumps and any other anomalies consistent with the disease. Your doctor should have ordered imaging studies, like x-rays of your chest or CT scans of your chest or abdomen, to check for unusual findings.
A biopsy of the affected tissue is necessary to diagnose mesothelioma with certainty. During a biopsy, a doctor removes a small tissue sample from the affected region of the body. He or she then sends the removed tissue to a laboratory for evaluation of the cells. Based on these results and other tests, a doctor should be able to diagnose this form of cancer.
Risk Factors for Mesothelioma
Asbestos exposure causes the vast majority of mesothelioma cases. Even if you did not encounter asbestos on the job, if someone in your home worked with asbestos, he or she could have carried the mineral’s fibers home on clothing, hair, or skin and exposed you to this form of cancer.
It can take decades for the disease to appear after exposure. Some people work with asbestos for many years and do not develop mesothelioma, and others get the disease after a brief, limited exposure.
People who currently work or have ever worked in these industries have a higher risk of developing mesothelioma:
- Shipyard workers;
- Construction workers;
- Factory workers;
- Auto mechanics; and
- Insulation manufacturing workers.
Treatments for Mesothelioma
Unfortunately, mesothelioma is usually in an advanced stage when discovered, and the doctors cannot remove the diseased tissue surgically. Most treatment plans have a limited goal of maximizing patient comfort because it is seldom possible to cure this form of cancer.
Doctors might be able to cure this disease when there is an early diagnosis. Acting quickly gives doctors a chance to remove the malignant tissue before it spreads.
As with other forms of cancer, doctors can use chemotherapy or radiation to kill cancer cells. While these methods are seldom effective in curing the disease, they can slow the progress and relieve some discomfort for the patient.
When Misdiagnosis of Mesothelioma Is Medical Malpractice
Since the only chance you have of surviving mesothelioma is with an early diagnosis, a delayed or incorrect diagnosis can have fatal consequences. If other doctors in similar situations would have diagnosed the mesothelioma earlier than your doctor did, your doctor might have breached their duty to you. When a breach of duty occurs, it is likely the doctor committed malpractice.
Other Responsible Parties in a Mesothelioma Misdiagnosis Case
Misdiagnosis is not always the fault of the doctor. Sometimes laboratories make mistakes, like mixing up tissue samples from two different patients or misreading the test results. In those situations, we can pursue an action against the lab.
We will obtain your medical records and have a medical expert read them. Our expert will determine if anyone committed medical negligence. If the negligence caused a delay in treatment and you suffered harm as a result, you have a claim for medical malpractice.
Consequences of a Misdiagnosis of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a grim diagnosis, but if you reported symptoms when the cancer was in the early stages, and you had a chance of fighting the disease, your decreased survival odds can be a result of the misdiagnosis. You might have to undergo more invasive and painful procedures to treat you or to increase your comfort. These damages will be part of your compensation claim, as well as any increased medical expenses and lost income because of additional time lost from work.
Getting Legal Help for Your Misdiagnosis Claim
In addition to connecting you with the medical knowledge you need, the medical malpractice lawyers at Medical Malpractice Help will handle the legal aspects of your claim. You can give your full attention to your health, and we will collect the evidence and build your legal case.