Misdiagnosis Miami Medical Malpractice Lawyer: Sean M. Cleary
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Sean M. Cleary
Top Rated Misdiagnosis Attorney in Miami
Health Problems Following Misdiagnosis in Miami
More than 1 out of every 5 referral patients may be incorrectly diagnosed, a study of patients seeking second opinions from the Mayo Clinic reveals. Diagnostic errors contribute to about 10% of patient deaths. A study conducted by the National Academies of Sciences noted that approximately 12 million Americans who seek outpatient care experience misdiagnosis.
Cancer misdiagnosis rates may be as high as 28%, according to the BMJ Quality and Safety journal. This data is troubling not only because of the safety risks for these patients, but also because of the patients who are not being referred at all.
Misdiagnosis Cases We Handle & Investigate in Miami & Florida
Misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose and a wrong diagnosis fall under the category of medical malpractice. When it comes to misdiagnosing or failing to diagnose a health issue, injury or death may be inflicted on a person, as they could have received appropriate treatment.
A misdiagnosis can occur in the case of any disease or condition. If overlooked by medical professionals or mistaken for a less severe health problem, the following conditions will lead to the most rapid health deterioration: stroke, heart attack, breast cancer, appendicitis, lung cancer and colon cancer.
There are multiple ways someone can be misdiagnosed, such as:
Wrong disease diagnosed
Failing to diagnose in a timely manner
The underlying cause of current condition not identified
Medication side-effects mistaken for illness
Misdiagnosis can result in a worsening of the patient’s condition, as well as in a lot of stress, anxiety or even death. Additionally, non-fatal misdiagnoses will lead to wasted time, money, medical tests and therapy for the patient. There is also the possibility of the patient suffering avoidable side-effects from taking the wrong medication.
Our attorney, Sean M. Cleary, who specializes in medical malpractice cases, will pursue financial compensation for the following misdiagnoses and many more.
When cancer is mistaken for a less serious condition, it can have a devastating physical, emotional and financial impact on the individual. It can occur either by a delay in diagnosing cancer or by mistaking the disease for a different condition. However, a medical professional may also provide inaccurate information regarding the existing type of cancer, stage or location. All cancer misdiagnoses can be life-threatening.
One of the most dangerous types of cancer misdiagnosis occurs when a medical professional fails to diagnose cancer that has already developed. When this kind of cancer misdiagnosis occurs, the condition may remain untreated for months or even years. It is important to know that cancer treatment is more effective the earlier it begins. There are over 200 cancers, out of which 50 are very aggressive and have rapid progress. Delayed diagnosis occurs most commonly in lung, breast and colorectal cancer.
On the other hand, a patient may be assigned a cancer diagnosis despite the fact that cancer is not present. This error can be caused by misdiagnosing the symptoms that the patient experiences. Diagnosing another condition as cancer can also be life-threatening, as unnecessary cancer treatment such as chemotherapy and surgery may create additional health problems for the patient.
Cancer misdiagnosis can cause tremendous pain, fear, stress and financial loss. It also reduces a patient’s chances of full recovery and survival tremendously. A delay in diagnosing cancer may result in malignant tumors spreading to a point where medical intervention will no longer be able to help. The progression of cancer left untreated can lead to a substantial increase in medical bills, pain and suffering, as well as to personal injury and wrongful death.
Below are a few concrete medical malpractice cases involving misdiagnosis our law firm handled in the past.
The urologist examined a patient complaining of blood in his urine and decided to perform a cystoscopy to examine the interior of their bladder and ureter. The medical professional found a tumor in the bladder, burned it, but failed to obtain muscle in the biopsies. Two years later, after observing a large bladder tumor during another cystoscopy, the urologist finally took a biopsy specimen which contained muscle. This biopsy revealed that the patient’s bladder cancer had in fact invaded the muscle wall and metastasized. As a result, the patient had to have his bladder removed. Tragically, by the time he filed a claim with our law firm, it was found that his cancer had spread through the bladder into his lymph nodes, metastasized into bone cancer, and eventually caused the patient’s death.
A teenage boy entering puberty saw his pediatrician for excessive thirst, insomnia, headache, vomiting, throat and abdominal pain, the retarded maturity of his genitals and excessive weight gain without the corresponding growth in height. The pediatrician failed to perform a fasting blood sugar test, made no referral, and ignored clearly abnormal levels of sodium, chloride, cholesterol and LDH. After several frustrating visits to the pediatrician, the teen’s mother self-referred to a pediatric gastroenterologist who ruled out gastric causes and initiated testing that confirmed brain cancer. Radiotherapy made the tumor disappeared, but left the teen with retarded growth, male breasts and dependent on growth hormones for life.
A 34-year-old woman complained to her obstetrician of two left breast lumps and left underarm pain. After examining her left breast and confirming that the lumps were indeed present, the medical professional concluded she was too young to have breast cancer. The obstetrician examined her on different occasions over the next four months, noting the history of the left breast lumps and pain, but negligently failed to order diagnostic tests to exclude the possibility of breast cancer.
One and a half years later, the patient contacted her family physician about her lumps and he immediately referred her to a different obstetrician. For the next four months, the patient underwent chemotherapy and eventually underwent a double radical mastectomy with node dissection, which confirmed the presence of breast cancer in multiple locations, as well as metastasis to the lymph nodes. Unfortunately, the cancer was stage 4 when it was diagnosed and will probably recur.
A 78-year-old diabetic woman was misdiagnosed with ovarian cancer and treated with chemotherapy, followed by a radical hysterectomy and adjuvant radiotherapy. During laparotomy, after chemotherapy, the misdiagnosis was discovered because she had a pelvic mass in the upper part of the cervix which was embedded in the bladder. It appeared to be cervical cancer and a frozen section evaluation confirmed that. Therefore, she underwent a radical hysterectomy and she received several courses of radiotherapy after surgery.
Because he failed to follow-up on his own observations, a medical professional diagnosed liver cancer, which was very advanced, in a patient later than he should have. The patient had several visits in 2007, when the malignancy was first spotted, and in 2011, following which he underwent several CT scans before receiving the diagnosis. The oncologist wrote that he intended to order another scan in a year, but failed to do so, despite frequent return visits by the patient over the course of the following 3 years. In 2011, the patient underwent a CT scan at another facility while being seen for a different medical condition, at which time, the liver tumor had grown enormously and was then diagnosed as advanced-stage liver cancer. The patient died from liver cancer a year after the diagnosis.
A 50-year-old woman found a golf-ball-sized lump on her torso. She contacted her family doctor, went to see him the next day, and he sent her to a surgeon who removed it that afternoon. Two weeks later, the surgeon called her with her lab test results and told her she had a very rare cancer, namely lymphoma. The oncologist was very discouraging, he sent her for blood work and a CT scan, both of which came back negative for any abnormalities.
However, he insisted that those were symptoms of lymphoma and that she needed to think about chemotherapy. She made an appointment with another oncologist, learned that lymphoma had fewer than 100 cases reported in the previous decade and was told that even if she did have the disease, it would be better treated with radiation therapy than chemotherapy. After more tests, she was given the confirmation that she actually had no cancer. The corrected diagnosis was inflammation of fat cells.
A 60-year-old man was experiencing a history of urinary difficulties. To rule out prostate cancer, the urologist performed a biopsy of the prostate gland and submitted the pathology materials to a medical corporation. A pathologist, employed by the medical corporation, examined the prostate tissue and prepared a pathology report denying the presence of cancer cells. Approximately 2 years later, the medical corporation became suspicious of the pathologist’s prostate slide results and had the slides re-read.
It was not until 2 years later that the medical corporation advised the urologist that the prostate tissue biopsied two years earlier had been misread and misdiagnosed by their pathologist. Following this notice, the patient’s prostate was again biopsied. Prostate cancer was confirmed and had progressed during the two-year delay caused by the misdiagnosis. After that, the patient underwent a radical excision of his prostate gland, causing a dramatic change in his lifestyle and marriage.
Lupus is one of the most difficult conditions to diagnose, since it can affect all parts of the body, has a wide range of potential symptoms and there is no definitive testing available. When testing for lupus, it is the responsibility of the medical professional to rule out similar conditions such as:
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Lupus can have numerous health consequences, such as fatal organ damage and cardiovascular disease. However, with early intervention, the risk of complications is greatly diminished. A misdiagnosis can prevent patients from accessing early lupus treatment options and also from working and supporting themselves, leading to loss of wages, medical expenses and plenty of stress.
Parkinson’s disease is a chronic, neurodegenerative disorder which affects mainly 1 in 100 people over the age of 60, but individuals as young as 18 have been diagnosed with it. Because there is no objective test for Parkinson’s disease, medical professionals may find it difficult to differentiate it from other neurological disorders. At the moment, clinical diagnosis is based on a patient’s medical history and neurological examination, but the rate of misdiagnosis is high enough to have a significant effect on treatment, especially when the diagnosis is assigned by a non-specialist.
In frequent cases, the appropriate therapy of Parkinson’s disease is delayed because the condition, particularly in the elderly, is initially misdiagnosed as:
A Parkinson’s disease misdiagnosis means a delay in the patient receiving the appropriate treatment, which can have a serious impact on the person’s physical health. Over time, the condition progresses and, as a consequence, the capacity to support oneself becomes more and more diminished.
Mononucleosis is a viral infection which can cause symptoms affecting the entire body, such as swelling in the lymph nodes of the neck, tonsils, liver and spleen, drowsiness, aching muscles and a sore throat. Other symptoms include loss of appetite, skin rash and fever. If correctly and timely diagnosed, this disease will disappear within a few weeks.
However, mononucleosis can occasionally lead to serious medical complications, such as meningitis, a ruptured spleen and even death. It is essential that physicians recognize the symptoms and treat the infection in its early phase.
Medical professionals may sometimes misdiagnose mononucleosis as:
A strep throat: Unless blood work is conducted, a clinician can misinterpret the symptoms of mononucleosis.
Influenza: In the majority of cases, distinguishing between mononucleosis and flu is done by conducting the appropriate tests.
Lymphoma: Basing a diagnosis only upon the symptom the patient is experiencing could result in failure to correctly diagnose the condition.
Tonsillitis: A diagnosis based on symptoms which infrequently occur in mononucleosis, such as headache and ear pain, can identify tonsillitis instead of the actual condition.
Appendicitis is the acute or chronic inflammation of the appendix, which is a medical emergency. The patient must receive immediate medical care, which generally means surgical removal of the appendix. Nevertheless, it can sometimes be difficult to diagnose. The symptoms of appendicitis can relate to a series of other medical conditions and, therefore, appendicitis may be misdiagnosed as:
Leaking aortic aneurysm
Ruptured ovarian cyst
Pelvic inflammatory disease
Perforated peptic ulcer
Urinary tract infection
Some of the demographics appendicitis is most commonly misdiagnosed in are women of childbearing age, children under the age of 5, mentally ill patients, as they may have difficulty explaining their symptoms, and elderly people over the age of 65. If a patient suffering from acute appendicitis does not undergo a prompt appendectomy, they will go into shock and death will eventually occur.
Regardless of your misdiagnosis situation, if your health was affected by the negligence of a medical professional, we strongly advise you to reach out to our attorney, who will thoroughly review your case. The financial compensation we can recover from the liable party will cover the following:
Repayment of past medical bills
Payment for future medical costs
Lost past and future wages
Home care and monitoring
Rehabilitation to recover from stroke
Physical and emotional pain and suffering
In the regrettable case of wrongful death, we will also be able to obtain compensation on behalf of the person who passed away due to misdiagnosis. The money you will receive will cover aspects such as:
Medical costs which were incurred before the death of the victim
How Can The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary Help You in a Misdiagnosis Case?
When misdiagnosis occurs due to the negligence of medical professionals, you have the right to file a claim. Depending on your situation, you can take legal action against the medical facility which employed the doctor who misdiagnosed you or against the person per se. It is important to keep in mind that in Florida hospitals, some physicians are seen as independent contractors, not as employees.
Nonetheless, if you are a victim of misdiagnosis, we will build a case against whoever is responsible for your physical and emotional distress. Therefore, if you or a family member was misdiagnosed, you have the legal right to recover financial compensation.
With over 20 years of professional experience, our law firm will promptly assess your situation and offer you the legal advice you need.
After the initial discussion, all you will have to do is provide our attorney with the necessary documents to build your case, such as medical records, and we will gladly take over from there so that you can focus on your health. Thus, your involvement in the legal process will be minimal, as we will take care of everything on your behalf.
Lastly, it is essential to know that, unless we obtain compensation from the party at fault for you, you do not have to pay our law firm anything, as we work on a contingency fee. Only when we are successful in recovering compensation will we keep between 34% and 40% of it in exchange for our legal services.