Do I Have a Medical Malpractice Case for Failing to Timely Diagnose Breast Cancer?

Chances are we have all known someone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, whether that person was a loved one or even you, yourself. We can all remember that first moment after we heard the news and how much it affected us moving forward. Now imagine you or your loved one had received that diagnosis much later than you should have. What was already devastating news deepens to be that much more painful with the knowledge that you or your loved one could have received necessary treatment much sooner; and that you might not receive the treatment needed in time to give yourself the best chance of a cure or survival, all because of the negligence of a healthcare provider. If you are currently living this reality, you may have a viable medical malpractice case.

What Is Breast Cancer?

It is a disease where the cells in the breast grow out of control. There are different types of breast cancer. The most common are ductal carcinoma, which begins in the breast ducts, and lobular carcinoma, which begins in the breast lobes. Both can spread and metastasize to other parts of the body. Therefore, it is critical that breast cancer be timely diagnosed and treated. The longer the delay in diagnosis and treatment, the more time the breast cancer has to grow, and thus, the more likely the cancer is to spread outside of the breast tissue to other parts of the body. The further the breast cancer spreads, the more difficult it is to treat, with a greater risk for worse outcomes.

What Are the Symptoms of Breast Cancer?

Symptoms can vary. Some people have no symptoms at all. But generally, the symptoms can include:

  • Pain or swelling in the breast
  • A lump in the breast or armpit
  • Discharge from the nipple that is not breast milk
  • Irritation, redness, flakiness, or dimpling of the skin on the breast and nipple

What Are Some of the Ways that Breast Cancer Can be Timely Diagnosed?

Annual mammograms are recommended for women between the ages of 45 to 54. Women age 40 to 44 have the option to start screening every year, and many recommend that they do, and certainly, if there is a family history of breast cancer.

A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast used to look for breast cancer. It can often detect breast cancer long before there are any symptoms. The X-ray is read by a radiologist, a doctor trained to read these types of images. If the mammogram is abnormal, further testing is recommended to investigate the nature of the abnormality. This can include ultrasound imaging, which uses sound waves to create a picture of the breast. This picture often looks different if there is cancer. Other tests can include a breast MRI and a breast biopsy. An MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, often can allow doctors to see breast abnormalities more clearly, and a breast biopsy is where a radiologist or surgeon removes some breast tissue for examination under a microscope looking for cancer cells.

When Is a Delay in Diagnosis of Breast Cancer Caused by Medical Negligence?

There are several common ways that medical negligence causes a delay in breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. These include:

  • Not reading the mammogram correctly;
  • Not reading a biopsy tissue specimen correctly;
  • Not reading a follow-up ultrasound or MRI correctly:
  • Not taking a sufficient breast tissue sample for a biopsy;
  • Not recommending further follow-up when a mammogram shows an abnormality.

Prompt diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer is critical to a good prognosis. A careless failure to timely diagnose and treat breast cancer is medical negligence.

How Do the Lawyers at D’Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC in Watertown, CT Determine Whether There Was Medical Negligence for Failing to Timely Diagnose Breast Cancer?

The first step to pursuing a medical negligence claim in Connecticut is to have all medical records requested, received, and reviewed by a physician. Once the request is submitted by attorneys, this process should take 30-60 days to complete. After D’Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC receives the relevant medical records, our team of attorneys reviews the records before sending them to a doctor who specializes in breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Over the next few months, that same doctor discusses with our team of lawyers if negligence occurred and whether that lack of care resulted in a delayed diagnosis that could have otherwise been avoided. Recognizing that the state of Connecticut’s statute of limitations is generally two years for these types of claims (Connecticut General Statutes § 52-584), it is critical that you pursue your medical negligence case as soon as possible to optimize your chance of receiving a favorable result.

A lawsuit will be filed if, under the guidance of a doctor, our team determines that poor patient care contributed to a delayed diagnosis that could have otherwise been avoided. Over the next 2-5 years, the court will move forward with proceedings that include steps such as written discovery—where both sides answer questions and produce documents—disclosure of the opinions of expert witnesses such as doctors, depositions of witnesses where testimony is given under oath, and court hearings where a judge addresses issues raised by both sides of the lawsuit. These specific types of cases are usually claimed to the jury docket, meaning the cases are to be decided by a jury if not settled; but due in part to the reputation and meticulous investigation of the team at D’Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC, most medical negligence lawsuits we handle are settled before a trial in court.

Schedule a Free Consultation With a Lawyer Experienced in Medical Malpractice for Failing to Timely Diagnose Breast Cancer at D’Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC

Receiving a cancer diagnosis is distressing enough as it is, but when you factor in a late diagnosis, that emotional upset worsens tenfold. If you believe that you or your loved one received negligent care due to a failure to timely diagnose breast cancer, the compassionate team of personal injury and medical malpractice attorneys at D’Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC are here to help. Call the office today for a free consultation.