Failure to Diagnose Cancer Lawsuits: Proving Causation A Challenge in Georgia Courts


January 25, 2011

Many of us fear the possibility of a trip to our doctor where we are told that we may have some form of cancer. As scary as such a possibility can be, there is a much more terrifying possibility – a doctor failing to diagnose a form of cancer at a stage that is treatable. When cancer is detected has an enormous impact on the ultimate outcome.

The difference in survival rate between a cancer diagnosis at Stage I and Stage IV is 80%. A breast cancer diagnosis during Stage I has a five year survival rate that approaches 100%.

Many patients die not because they have cancer but because a medical professional's error kept the cancer from being diagnosed and treated early enough. Misdiagnosis of cancer lawsuits pose a special challenge because the malpractice insurance attorney for the medical professional will often argue that the patient's outcome would not have changed even if the medical professional had not prevented the disease from being diagnosed earlier. At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, we have been helping Georgia families for over 25 years. We will work hard to help a cancer patient who suffers a worse outcome because a medical professional failed to diagnose or prevented a correct diagnosis of cancer.

There are many types of cancer that are commonly misdiagnosed by medical professionals where the delayed diagnosis may have a significant impact on treatment of the disease. Common forms of cancer that are typically involved in misdiagnosis of cancer cases include the following:

  • Breast Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Colon Cancer
  • Lung Cancer
  • Brain Cancer
  • Cervical Cancer
  • Skin Cancer

These types of cancer often have a very high probability of treatment if they are diagnosed and treated early enough. A medical professional's failure to diagnose cancer can mean a delay in treatment with devastating results. A failure to diagnose cancer case may involve a number of errors including:

  • Failure to read a screening test properly.
  • Not requesting appropriate screening exams under the circumstances
  • Misdiagnosis of cancer for some other ailment

Even when it is established that a doctor or other medical professional has negligently failed to diagnose cancer, it is often argued that the outcome would not have been different. The medical professional's lawyers will often take the position that at the time the error or misdiagnosis occurred the disease would not have been treatable so that the error did not change the outcome of the disease. These cases are very difficult and expensive to litigate because of the challenge in proving the "causal connection" between the medical professional's error and a changed outcome for the victim. An experienced Georgia medical malpractice attorney will use medical experts to provide opinions and testimony supporting the view that had the cancer been diagnosed properly the outcome would have been different.

At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, our Georgia medical malpractice attorneys represent those injured by negligent health care providers that cause injury or death. Call Montlick & Associates today to see how we can help. We are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. Call us today for your free consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333), or visit us on the web at www.montlick.com. No matter where you are in Georgia, we are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you.


Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.