If you or your loved one suffered complications because of a doctor’s misdiagnosis of mouth cancer, you might have grounds to file for medical malpractice. Doctors have a strict duty of care to their patients. Many physicians who fail to make the proper diagnosis in a critical situation breach that duty. A mouth cancer misdiagnosis lawyer can evaluate your situation and inform you of your legal options.
At Medical Malpractice Help, our medical malpractice lawyers focus on helping patients recover damages through a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit. We offer free consultations, so we can discuss your case, answer your questions, and go over your options. To schedule an appointment with one of our dedicated malpractice attorneys, call us today at 800-916-7333.
Common Signs, Symptoms, and Risk Factors for Mouth Cancer
Mouth cancer is not always easy to diagnose, but it has many common symptoms. When you go to the doctor with one or more of these symptoms, he or she has a duty to investigate and run tests to rule out mouth cancer as a possibility. If your doctor failed to take your symptoms into account and misdiagnosed your condition, it could be considered medical malpractice.
The most common symptoms of mouth cancer are:
- Lumps, rough spots, crusty patches, eroded areas, or swelling of the gums, lips, or other areas inside the mouth;
- Velvety white, red, or speckled patches inside the mouth;
- Unexplained bleeding in the mouth;
- Numbness, loss of feeling, or pain or tenderness in the mouth, neck, or face;
- Bleeding sores on the mouth, neck, or face that do not heal within two weeks;
- Swelling of the throat or a feeling of something being caught in the esophagus;
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue;
- A persistent sore throat, hoarseness, or loss of voice;
- Recurring ear pain;
- Shifting of teeth; or
- Dramatic and unexplained weight loss.
Risk Factors for Mouth Cancer
Another way in which a failure to diagnose mouth cancer can be a form of medical malpractice is if the doctor did not account for one or more risk factors that you presented. Certain lifestyles, behaviors, and genetic factors can substantially increase a person’s risk of developing mouth cancer. A doctor must take these factors into consideration when evaluating a patient for any of the symptoms listed above.
Risk factors for developing mouth cancer include:
- Gender, since men are twice as likely as women to develop mouth cancer;
- Age, as men over 50 have the highest risk;
- Smoking, since this behavior elevates a person’s risk of developing mouth cancer sixfold;
- Alcohol, as excessive drinkers are six times more likely to develop oral cancer;
- A family history of mouth cancer in your parents, grandparents, or siblings;
- A history of sun exposure, especially during childhood; and
- HPV virus, which raises the risk of developing certain squamous cell carcinomas of the mouth.
How We Fight and Win Medical Malpractice Lawsuits for Misdiagnosis of Mouth Cancer
To win your medical malpractice lawsuit against a doctor who misdiagnosed mouth cancer in you or your loved one, we must prove four things.
Your Doctor Owed You a Duty of Care.
We first must show that your doctor owed you a duty of care. We can use your doctor-patient relationship to establish this duty. Such a relationship exists if your doctor agreed to evaluate or treat you for any condition.
Your Doctor Breached His or Her Duty.
We then must demonstrate how your doctor breached his or her duty of care to you. To prove that a breach occurred, we use the “reasonable person” standard. This standard compares your doctor’s actions to those of a reasonable physician possessing the same information and facing the same situation. If it is likely that another doctor would have made the proper diagnosis, your doctor did not uphold his or her duty of care.
You or Your Loved One Suffered Injury or Complications.
Next, we must connect your doctor’s failure to uphold his or her duty of care with the injury or complications you or your loved one suffered. For instance, if your cancer spread and became more difficult, painful, and expensive to treat, we can show how this would not have happened if your doctor had made the proper diagnosis.
You or Your Loved One Incurred Damages.
Damages differ from injuries, as they refer to the compensable losses you incurred because of your doctor’s wrongdoing. These losses may be economic—such as your medical bills and lost wages—or non-economic—like pain and suffering and emotional distress. Our attorneys can estimate how much compensation you are entitled to after we investigate your medical malpractice case .