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Delayed diagnosis leads to fatal diagnosis

Imagine learning that your doctor didn't disclose something about your health to you. An estimated 12 million Americans are said to be affected by diagnositic errors each year. Around 10 percent of those are communication errors. Around one-third of those have caused disability, serious harm, or death.

That unthinkable situation happened to a bassist who recently learned that he has cancer. Interestingly, he learned that 4 years ago, a CAT scan that was done to check for broken ribs was the first imaging scan that had noted the nodule, but the man wasn't ever told about the nodule.

The man would like to know why he wasn't told of the nodule 4 years ago when it was only 10 millimeters across. It was noted on the report for the CAT scan, but his doctor never acted on that information. That nodule is now 60 times larger and has lead to a cancer diagnosis. The cancer is inoperable and has spread to the man's brain.

The man recently had to hang up his instrument because his fingertips have become too bulbous to play music. That clubbing is the result of chemotherapy that he had to help combat the cancer. He is also having to undergo immunotherapy and CyberKnife surgery.

This is only one example of how a delayed diagnosis can lead to irreparable harm. Patients who are suffering from the effects of a delayed diagnosis and the family members of a person who was killed by a delayed diagnosis might decide to seek compensation for the medical error that caused them harm.

Source: Philly.com, "Foghat bassist learns medical error delayed cancer diagnosis for years," Samantha Melamed, June 20, 2016

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