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Ex-Marine blames VA delays for failure to diagnose cancer


One of the worst things that can happen to a person in Boston who goes to the doctor seeking help with a health issue is to learn they have cancer. However, a cancer diagnosis can be exponentially more damaging when it is compounded by having been missed at an earlier time. A missed diagnosis of cancer will result in delayed treatment, could cause a spread of disease and worsened condition. This can be the difference between life and death.

A former Marine who was examined at the VA hospital and told he would again be seen in nine months was diagnosed with Stage three throat cancer when he went to see an outside doctor. This is an ongoing problem for veterans who are often made to wait between two and three months to see a primary care physician. The man is also depressed and asked for psychiatric help. He received a rubber bracelet from the psychiatrist and was told to snap it against his wrist whenever he began to feel anxiety. The man believes that if he'd waited the nine months the VA doctor told him he'd have to wait, he'd already be dead.

One of the keys to treating cancer is to catch it early. If a person is feeling symptoms and fails to go to the doctor in a timely fashion, it's one thing. But if that person does go for medical treatment and there is a failure to diagnose cancer, the situation can elicit frustration and anger. In some instances, a doctor simply misses the connection between the symptoms and the disease. At other times, they make a glaring error in diagnosing what the problem is and say it's something other than cancer. If warning signs are missed and a person grows sicker or even dies before an adequate treatment has started, the family has a right to pursue compensation through litigation.

In this case, an ex-Marine went to his VA for treatment and was told he'd be examined again in nine months. In the interim, a doctor from outside the VA discovered the cancer in the man's throat. These types of mistakes happen all too often and have caused worsened condition and even death. When a person or a person's family is affected by a failure to diagnose cancer, they should discuss the matter with a qualified legal professional to consider a lawsuit.

Source: WNCN.com, "Veteran says Fayetteville VA missed his cancer diagnosis," Jonathan Rodriguez, June 13, 2014

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