There are more than 3.8 million women in the United States who are either currently being treated for breast cancer or have completed treatment. Our Michigan medical malpractice attorneys are experienced in handling lawsuits involving the delay of breast cancer treatment due to a misread mammogram film or ultrasound study.
These cancer misdiagnosis lawsuits require the expertise and knowledge of an experienced and qualified attorney. Doctors, radiologists, and hospitals strongly defend these cases so you need a highly skilled legal team on your side.
- Breast Cancer Statistics
- What Treatments Are There for Breast Cancer?
- Failure to Communicate and Mammogram Interpretation Errors
- Michigan Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
- Filing a Breast Cancer Misdiagnosis Lawsuit
- Contact Our Breast Cancer Malpractice Lawyers
How is Breast Cancer Diagnosed?
Breast cancer typically has no symptoms, which is why screening is important for early detection. The most common screening test used for breast cancer is a mammogram, which is an X-ray of the breast tissue and conducted on an annual or bi-annual basis for most women age 40 and older. Mammograms are used because they can detect tumors that are too small to feel, and in some cases can detect abnormal cells that line the breast duct. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used to screen women with a high risk of breast cancer.
Your screening test will be interpreted by a radiologist who will read the film to identify any potential signs of cancer. An abnormal mammogram does not always mean there is cancer, but you may be referred to a breast specialist or surgeon for additional testing or exams. Early diagnosis of breast cancer is essential so that treatment can begin before the disease spreads to other parts of the body. However, if breast cancer is found, additional testing is done to determine if cancer has spread to other parts of the body, known as “staging.”
Breast Cancer Statistics in the U.S.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States, with over 281,500 new cases expected in 2021. Deaths from breast cancer have decreased since the early 1990s, with a rate of 19.9 deaths per 100,000 population in 2017. Breast cancer is driven by many factors, but age is a known risk factor. Among all age groups, the highest number of invasive breast cancer cases were among those aged 60 to 69.
Breast Cancer Treatment
Breast cancer treatments involve several methods including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Types of cancer diagnosed in earlier states often require fewer treatments. A majority of the early-stage breast cancer cases in the US receive breast-conserving surgery and radiation therapy. Older women typically have higher rates of mastectomy, which is the surgical removal of some or all breast tissue.
This graph shows the percentage of U.S. women aged 40 and older who reported they had received a mammogram within the previous 2 years between 2002 – 2017. In 2001, 73 percent of women aged 40 and older had received a mammogram within the previous 2 years.
Failure to Communicate Cancer Findings
Many times, the diagnostic study is interpreted properly and shows concerns for breast cancer. However, these findings are not always properly communicated to the primary care physician or specialist. Other times, the reports are furnished to the physician but either buried in the patient chart, not read by the doctor or staff, or the findings are simply not communicated to the patient. This failure to communicate can cause a significant delay in the start of treatment and have terrible consequences for the patient.
Mammogram Interpretation Errors
There are some factors that can affect the accuracy of mammography, which are:
- Age and weight of patient
- Size and type of tumor
- Where the tumor formed
- How dense the breast tissue is
- Timing of mammogram with menstrual cycle
- Quality of mammogram picture
- Skill of radiologist reading the mammogram
In many of these cases, a second mammogram or ultrasound will be required to definitively diagnose breast cancer. However, when a radiologist misreads a mammogram or ultrasound in a patient with breast cancer, the consequences can be devastating. When this type of medical mistake occurs, cancer goes untreated, often for a long time before it is ultimately diagnosed. By the time of the diagnosis, valuable time for treatment and recovery has been wasted.
Michigan Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations, or time limit, to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Michigan is generally two years from the date of the injury. There are some exceptions to this deadline for cases involving minors and those involving the death of the patient.
There is also a very limited discovery rule, which may extend the filing date if the medical negligence was discovered after the two-year period. A victim of medical malpractice should consult an experienced attorney as soon as possible to avoid missing any deadlines.
Filing a Breast Cancer Misdiagnosis Lawsuit
When a patient’s radiology study is misread or misinterpreted and there is a delay in cancer treatment, the patient can often file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the negligent physician. In this type of lawsuit, it must be proven that the physician did misread the mammogram film, and due to this error there was a delay in your treatment of cancer. In addition to proving the medical error, it must also be proven that if the film had not been misread, a more favorable outcome to the patient would have resulted.
The same is true for cases involving the failure to communicate the cancer findings from the radiologist to physician, or from physician to patient. If the delay in treatment is caused by a communication mistake, it can provide the basis for a malpractice lawsuit.
What is the Average Settlement for a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
There is no “average settlement” for a medical malpractice lawsuit. The settlement amount depends on a large number of factors and they vary from case to case. These factors include the degree to which you can prove medical negligence, whether you can prove negligence caused a serious injury and the type of harm caused by the medical error.
When it comes to damages, the settlement amount takes into consideration the permanency of the injury, whether there has been a loss of income or earning capacity, and the amount of the medical expenses incurred due to the malpractice.
Another important factor includes the venue, or location, of the lawsuit. Juries in certain counties regularly award fewer money damages than other counties. This is often a major consideration in determining the settlement.
Finally, the medical malpractice lawyer representing you is often the biggest factor in your settlement amount. The best attorneys get their clients the highest settlements through their skill, hard work, and experience.
Choosing the right attorney is the most important decision you will make for your case.
How Our Attorneys Can Help You
If you or your loved one had a delay in cancer treatment due to a misread study or the failure of a doctor to act upon a properly read radiology study, you should contact our experienced Michigan medical malpractice lawyers today to discuss your case.
We will get all of your medical records and the actual mammogram or ultrasound films. We will then have them reviewed by a board-certified radiologist that specializes in breast cancer patients. If the radiologist determines the films were misread or that the findings were not properly communicated, we will file a lawsuit for you.
Contact Our Breast Cancer Malpractice Lawyers
To get started on your Free Case Review, contact us today. There are strict deadlines for filing cases so it is important to contact us as soon as you are aware of the mistakes.
We will represent you under our No Win No Fee Promise. This means that there are no legal fees whatsoever until we win or settle your case. We put that in writing for you!
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