Prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer among males. A timely diagnosis of the condition is critical when you suffer from a serious injury or illness. Diagnosis involves identifying the type and seriousness of your symptoms and administering appropriate treatment.
Unfortunately, thousands of people in Arizona suffer the ill effects of diagnostic errors. Failure to diagnose prostate cancer could involve making a wrong diagnosis, delaying diagnosis, or failing to detect the condition.
If the physicians fail to detect your prostate cancer on time, your treatment will be delayed, and you can suffer serious consequences. Additionally, a misdiagnosis of prostate cancer can cause you to receive unnecessary treatment, which could take a toll on your life.
Failure to diagnose is a form of medical malpractice. For this reason, you will be entitled to compensation for the injuries and losses resulting from the malpractice. If you or your loved one battles a medical malpractice lawsuit in Phoenix, AZ, you will benefit from the expert guidance we offer at the Phoenix Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm.
An Overview of Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is a common type of cancer affecting males in the United States. Often, this type of cancer affects a small portion of the prostate gland. The prostrate has several functions, which include producing a fluid that helps in the transportation of sperm. Cancer begins when body cells grow out of control. When prostate cancer is detected early, it can be treated, and the treatment prevents further growth of the cancerous cells.
During the initial stages of prostate cancer, there are obvious signs. However, proper testing and screening can help indicate the presence or onset of the condition. There is no one known cause of prostate cancer. The abnormal growth of cells happens when some changes occur in the glandular cells. The following are risk factors associated with prostate cancer:
- Age. Males over the age of fifty are more likely to suffer from prostate cancer than their younger counterparts.
- Ethnicity and race. Prostate cancer is more common in males of the black race than in white males. However, Asian and Hispanic males have a much lower risk.
- Family history. If your family has a history of prostate cancer, you are at increased risk of developing the condition.
- Diet. Research shows that individuals who consume a high-fat diet are at increased risk of prostate cancer.
- Genetic factors. Inherited features and mutations can increase your chances of developing prostate cancer.
Although more research may be needed to confirm their involvement, factors like smoking, obesity, and alcohol consumption could influence your prostate cancer risk.
Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
The doctor could refer you for further testing if your prostate gland cells appear abnormal. Some of the common symptoms of prostate cancer include:
- Difficulty passing urine. Urinary hesitancy happens when a person finds starting or maintaining a stream of urine challenging. Although these symptoms may result from kidney stones or nerve damage, you should seek medical care to rule out prostate cancer.
- Frequent urination. Frequent urination means that you have a constant urge to pass urine.
- Blood in the urine. The presence of urine in the blood is abnormal. While this could be a symptom of a simple infection, it can also indicate the onset of prostate cancer.
- Painful ejaculation or urination. If you experience pain when urinating or during ejaculation, you should consult a doctor for further testing.
As prostate cancer progresses and spreads to other parts of your body, you could experience more serious symptoms like numbness in your extremities, bone pain, and unexpected weight loss.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Prostate Cancer
Staging for prostate cancer is complicated and depends on several factors, including:
- Stage I. In this stage, the cancer cells are localized in the prostate gland.
- Stage II. Cancer in this stage has not spread to other parts. However, your PSA score is high.
- Stage III. Prostate cancer spreads to surrounding cells.
- Stage IV. Cancer could have spread to distant organs, and the symptoms are more pronounced.
The diagnosis of prostate cancer involves an assessment of your symptoms and testing. The tests used to identify abnormal growth of cells in your prostate gland may include a blood test, a urine test, and imaging. Depending on the stage you are at with the condition, the doctor could recommend the following forms of treatment:
- Surgery. A surgical procedure for prostate cancer is performed on the tumor and the surrounding tissues affected by the condition.
- Radiation therapy. This treatment uses radiation to kill cancer cells and prevent them from spreading. The doctor can recommend internal or external radiation, depending on the stage of your cancer.
- Hormonal therapy. Hormone therapy decreases the level of male sex hormones in your body. Blocking the circulation and production of these hormones could inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
Unfortunately, the correct tests are not always performed, and the results may be incorrect. This means the correct treatment will not be administered at the right time.
Failure to Diagnose as a Form of Medical Malpractice
In Arizona, medical malpractice occurs when a health practitioner’s negligence causes harm or injuries to a patient. However, not all mistakes made in the treatment process will count as malpractice. Failure to diagnose prostate cancer would be medical malpractice if the doctor did not follow the accepted standards of care to reach the right diagnostic decision.
You may have valid medical malpractice under the following circumstances:
Physicians are responsible for providing proper medical care for each patient who consults them. Proper diagnosis is a critical part of quality medical care. An incorrect diagnosis of prostate cancer can have devastating effects on your quality of life. A wrong diagnosis could mean the doctor gave you the wrong results after your test.
A misdiagnosis of prostate cancer can result from human errors or imperfections in testing. False negative and false positive prostate cancer results can result in actions that devastate your life. Prostate cancer affects a small portion of the prostate gland. Therefore, it is easy to miss the effect part when taking a sample cell for testing.
Sometimes, an incorrect diagnosis may mean you receive a diagnosis for a different condition. Some symptoms of prostate cancer are similar to those of other medical conditions. You may be put on other medications you do not need when you receive a wrong diagnosis. This will allow for the progression of the condition and other effects of unnecessary medication.
When you receive a false-positive result for prostate cancer, the doctor will recommend that you begin chemotherapy and other forms of treatment. Chemotherapy works by killing cancer cells. However, the treatment can also damage healthy cells. Common side effects of prostate cancer treatment include the following:
- Low production of blood cells. When chemotherapy drugs destroy healthy cells, you are at an increased risk of developing anemia, blood infections, and other complications.
- Gastrointestinal complications. Cancer treatment can damage the lining of your stomach, causing nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation.
- Hair and skin symptoms. Chemotherapy targets the growing cells, including those in the skin and hair. You could suffer hair loss and mouth sores from unnecessary treatment resulting from a prostate cancer misdiagnosis.
Another basis for your prostate cancer lawsuit is delayed diagnosis. This form of medical malpractice occurs when the doctors fail to observe your symptoms and perform relevant tests correctly. In your lawsuit, you can argue that the medical practitioner had reasonable evidence of cancer signs and failed to investigate further.
Delayed prostate cancer diagnosis causes patients to miss a critical window when the treatment could have been effective. As a result, the period when the condition remains undiagnosed allows the cancer cells to spread to other parts of the body.
Sometimes, the symptoms of prostate cancer are not evident until the later stages of the condition. One of the common reasons for delayed diagnosis is the doctor’s failure to notice early symptoms. If the signs of the condition were obvious, but the doctor ignored them. You can file a claim for medical malpractice. The following are symptoms of a delayed prostate cancer diagnosis:
- Lack of improvement in your conditions even after active treatment.
- Failure to acknowledge symptoms described by a patient.
- Failure to order appropriate testing to confirm the cause of your symptoms.
- Evidence of miscommunication between different members of the medical team.
Failure to Detect the Disease
When you experience symptoms that cause you to consult a doctor, you expect the health care professional to:
- Review your medical history.
- Listen to the description of your symptoms and analyze them accordingly.
- Order necessary testing.
- Refer you to a specialist for treatment when necessary
You always seek medical care with the expectation that your doctor will understand the meaning of your symptoms and order the necessary tests. Several tests are available to detect prostate cancer, even in its early stages. If the tests are not done properly, the condition may go undetected.
When you receive a false negative result, you will not receive the appropriate treatment needed to reduce the progression and effects of the disease. In this case, you will continue to experience prostate cancer symptoms, causing the condition to progress to a dangerous level.
Proving Negligence in a Prostate Cancer Failure to Diagnose Lawsuit
If you have suffered the effects of a failure to diagnose prostate cancer, you are entitled to compensation. However, the compensation is not automatic. You must file a medical malpractice lawsuit and battle it out in court. Negligence is a significant part of any personal injury case. You can prove negligence in this case by establishing the following factors:
You Had a Doctor-Patient Relationship with the Defendant
Establishing a doctor-patient relationship means the physician owes you a duty of care. The duty of care is the obligation to uphold a certain level of conduct to avoid causing injury to another person. When you pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit, this is the first element that you must prove.
Your Medical Provider Failed to Uphold the Expected Standard of Care
After showing that a physician owed you a duty of care, you must prove that they breached that duty by acting in a way that placed you in danger. Your attorney will work to convince the judge that another doctor placed in a similar situation could have acted differently from the defendant.
You Suffered Harm from the Defendant's Actions
Before you recover compensation for medical malpractice, you are obligated to prove that your injuries resulted from the defendant’s breach of duty. If you suffer the repercussions of failing to diagnose prostate cancer, you can argue that the delayed or missed diagnosis caused your injuries.
You Suffered Significant Losses
Finally, you will need to list and prove the types of damages that you suffered from the injury. Often, failure to diagnose prostate cancer will cause hefty medical bills, loss of time from work, and sometimes loss of future earning capacity. With the guidance of a skilled lawyer, you can provide relevant evidence to support your claim for losses.
Filing a Lawsuit for Failure to Diagnose Prostate Cancer in Arizona
If you are convinced that your prostate cancer injuries result from a failure to diagnose, you can file a lawsuit against the liable parties. In addition to suing the physician involved in testing and treating your case, you can file a lawsuit against a medical facility.
Battling a civil claim against a physician or facility could be challenging. Therefore, seeking expert legal guidance is critical. Your attorney will be responsible for the following tasks in your case:
- Investigating the circumstances of your injury. Your lawyer will investigate the circumstances of your injury by checking the doctor's conduct and comparing it to the accepted standards of care.
- Establishing liability. Several parties can be liable in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Your attorney will identify each party's negligence, making it easier to file a successful claim.
- Finding and working closely with medical experts to help build your case.
- Assess your total losses and gather sufficient evidence to support your compensation claim.
- Negotiating your claim with liable parties and their insurance providers.
- Taking your case to court when a settlement is not reached out of court.
Statute of Limitations for a Failure to Diagnose Claim in Arizona
The statute of limitations is a deadline within which you must file your personal injury lawsuit. If you have suffered the effects of a failure to diagnose prostate cancer, you have up to two years to file your medical malpractice lawsuit. Filing a claim after the statute of limitations has elapsed could deny you the right to recover compensation.
However, if your condition has gone undetected, your statute of limitations may be extended. If you are unsure of your statute of limitations, consult a skilled medical malpractice lawyer.
Possible Compensation Benefits in a Prostate Cancer Misdiagnosis Lawsuit
If you can successfully prove that you are a victim of failure to diagnose, you can recover the following forms of compensation from your lawsuit:
Failure to diagnose, late diagnosis, or misdiagnosis of prostate cancer can cause serious consequences. The condition's progression or the wrongful treatment's impacts can take a toll on your health. The liable party in your lawsuit will be responsible for your medical expenses.
Medical expenses could include current and future surgical costs, prescription fees, nursing care, and long-term care costs. You could receive compensation for the costs incurred if you modify your home to fit your condition. Compensation for your medical expenses requires you to provide evidence of your injuries and the amount incurred to treat them. You can do this by ensuring that your treatment is documented.
Lost Wages and Earning Capacity
The consequences of a delayed diagnosis, an incorrect diagnosis, or a failure to diagnose prostate cancer can cause you to spend weeks or months in the hospital. You could miss out on work and lose your wages during this time. Sometimes, the injuries and resulting conditions could impair your ability to work in the future. In your lawsuit, you can recover the amount of lost wages and earning capacity.
Pain and Suffering
Being a victim of medical malpractice related to prostate cancer will impact your physical and psychological health. The trauma from the incident can affect your ability to function normally and enjoy your life. Although pain and suffering cannot be quantified, you are entitled to compensation.
Cancer is a common cause of death in the United States. When you receive an incorrect diagnosis, proper treatment is not administered, and the likelihood of death is high. If you lose a loved one because of the failure to diagnose prostate cancer, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit and recover compensation.
Find a Competent Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
Prostate cancer is a serious condition that could cause life-changing effects when left untreated. If you suffer the consequences of an undiagnosed, late diagnosis, or misdiagnosed case of prostate cancer, you can file a personal injury claim and recover compensation for the losses arising from the condition. Some of these losses will include medical expenses, lost wages, and loss of earning capacity.
Additionally, you can be compensated for the emotional suffering and mental anguish caused by the situation. For individuals who lose their loved one from a prostate cancer misdiagnosis, wrongful death benefits are available. The process of recovering compensation for medical malpractice is complex. Therefore, you must hire and retain a skilled lawyer.
At the Phoenix Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm, we understand the level of damage that could result from failure to diagnose prostate cancer. Our skilled attorneys will help protect your rights and hold negligent healthcare professionals accountable for their mistakes. We serve clients seeking legal guidance to battle a medical malpractice case in Phoenix, AZ. Call us at 602-641-9589 to discuss your case.