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Is your physician guilty of failure to diagnose cancer?

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Did you know that cancer misdiagnoses occur in nearly one-third of cases?

New York City medical malpractice attorneys realize the prevalence of this type of medical mistake, and they can help you learn more about your legal options if your physician fails to adequately diagnose your disease. No one should have to suffer through the physical scourges that accompany late-stage cancer that could have been caught earlier.

A recent study showed that patients suffer from misdiagnosis for a number of reasons. One of the most prevalent, which is particularly salient in light of electronic medical record transitions, is the fragmentation of data across information systems. In other words, your physician is only receiving a partial picture of your health when he or she accesses your electronic records. This incomplete picture easily leads to misdiagnosis, which can result in additional medical expenses.

Research also indicates that misdiagnosis may occur because pathologists — those experts that analyze tissue samples — may not have the expertise to adequately diagnose cancer in particular body systems. A large percentage of physicians say that additional pathology resources are required to promote accurate diagnoses and limit the medical expenses associated with advanced cancer.

Additional risk occurs when physicians feel strapped for time. Many patients complain about the lack of personal attention that they receive from their New York practitioners — and their doctors are equally stressed. In fact, most physicians underestimate the number of misdiagnoses that are attributable to rushing. Estimates for misdiagnosis among cancer patients can reach as high as 44 percent for some specific types. Among those most commonly misdiagnosed: breast cancer, melanoma and lymphoma.

Although our medical system is highly advanced, diagnosing cancer is not always an exact science. The fact is that physicians are bound to miss some diagnoses, especially in the more uncommon cancers. Failure to diagnose is inexcusable in any circumstance, and physicians and hospitals should be held accountable for their low performance when it occurs. Every patient deserves competent, thorough care that helps them make the most informed choices about their personal health.

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