Woman’s delayed diagnosis results in terminal lung cancer, part one

When Joliet patients first discover that they have cancer, they may be shocked and a bit frightened, and they may also have a lot of questions for their doctors. Has the cancer spread to other parts of the body? Is the cancer treatable? Could the cancer have been detected sooner?

Unfortunately, patients don’t always get the answers they want to hear. Cancer can be difficult to detect when patients experience no symptoms, and sometimes cancer spreads to other parts of the body before patients even seek medical treatment for their symptoms.

Although cancer cannot always be detected before it becomes terminal, some patients do not receive appropriate medical care when they seek treatment from doctors for concerning health problems. This could result in a missed diagnosis or a delayed cancer diagnosis.

Several months ago, a woman sought emergency medical treatment after she began to have trouble breathing. Medical professionals took X-rays of the woman’s chest, and the X-rays revealed that the woman had Stage 4 lung cancer. The cancer had already spread from her left lung to her right lung. A doctor told the woman that the cancer had also spread to other parts of her body including her liver, spine and brain.

After reviewing the patient’s medical records, the doctor also told the woman that her cancer could have been detected two years earlier during a previous emergency room visit. An X-ray that had been taken at that visit revealed that the woman had a nodule in her left lung. However, this information was never passed on to the woman and doctors never followed up with additional tests.

This woman’s story is tragic. But before she dies of cancer, the 41-year-old single mother is determined to make her story known. She wants to remind doctors that they are responsible for providing quality care at all times because one mistake could cost a patient his or her life. She also wants patients to understand that sometimes they must question their doctors in order to avoid becoming victims of medical malpractice. “We trust our doctors,” the woman said when speaking with reporters from the Daily News. “I think that’s where a lot of us go wrong.”

So what did go wrong in this woman’s case? Why wasn’t her cancer diagnosed earlier? We will continue this discussion next week on our Joliet medical malpractice law blog.

Source: New York Daily News, “Hospital’s mistake leaves single Brooklyn mom with 6 months to live,” Heidi Evans, Jan. 6, 2013

  • Our firm provides counsel to Illinois patients and their families who have been harmed by similar incidents of medical malpractice like the incident discussed in today’s blog post. To learn more about our firm and practice, please visit our Joliet medical malpractice lawyer page.

Failure to Diagnose + Wrongful Death

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