Becky Colcord had a CAT scan in 2004 at the Ohio State Medical Center. Her radiologist failed to notice a cancerous mass that was visible on the images. In 2010, she was diagnosed with bone cancer and underwent surgery at OSU. She received no follow-up treatment from the center. Colcord later had to undergo further cancer-related surgeries.
Last month, OSU settled with Colcord for $800,000 in the Ohio Court of Claims. As a matter of course, OSU admitted no liability by settling the lawsuit. This information was published in The Columbus Dispatch, but the story has not been picked up by media giants or even anyone outside of the state. The sad fact of the matter is that settlements like this are becoming all too common.
Medical malpractice can devastate patients and their families. This particular case of malpractice falls under failure to diagnose; had Becky’s pelvic mass been properly identified in 2004, she would not have faced later surgery. The lack of follow-up treatment after her surgery is particularly inexcusable in light of the original failure to diagnose.
A cascade of additional problems
A cancer diagnosis causes fear, anger, and anxiety. Time is of the essence, as early detection can drastically affect the treatment outcome. When doctors fail to correctly diagnose cancer, they rob their patients of timely treatment that could have saved them from long, drawn-out chemotherapy sessions, surgeries or even a tragic death. Cancer misdiagnosis can be the result of:
- Mistakes made in the lab. If a lab technician makes an error or loses a culture, there could be a delay in the doctor’s ability to recognize a cancer. Poorly or insufficiently trained technicians also increase the risk of a mistake, as do poorly maintained medical devices.
- Failure to read the results correctly.Doctors who misread the lab results or ignore important elements of the results may diagnose a cancer patient with a different condition entirely.
- Miscommunication between all parties.Failure to request or send medical histories, failure to include all parts of a test or failure to inform a patient about the results of a test could all lead to a delay in treatment. In some cases, a doctor who does not spend adequate time with his or her patients may not recognize that the lab results are wrong, or that the lab results actually belong to another patient.
- Relying too heavily on past experience. While the experience of medical personnel is usually a benefit to patients, it can also sway a doctor or specialist to discount certain signs or avoid additional testing based on preconceived notions – such as assuming a male patient’s symptoms are not breast cancer simply because he is male.
No one should be made to suffer needlessly at the hands of competent medical professionals. If you or someone you know has suffered because of an undiagnosed illness, please contact Crandall & Pera Law to learn more about your rights and how we can help. We have secured the futures of people throughout Ohio and Kentucky, and we want to help secure yours, too.