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When does a delayed diagnosis count as medical malpractice?

On Behalf of | Dec 8, 2022 | Medical Malpractice

An estimated one in 71 breast cancer cases is diagnosed incorrectly, and one-fourth of all biopsies receive an inaccurate diagnosis because of a clinical error. And on top of being challenging to diagnose, it’s also often hard to tell when a delayed diagnosis was the result of medical malpractice in New York.

How do you prove it was medical malpractice?

It’s rarely simple for a medical malpractice case to be resolved when failure to diagnose is the allegation. When this does happen, the outcome depends on two key criteria.

The first of these is if the defendant’s failure to diagnose the breast cancer was caused by negligence. The second is whether the damages that the patient experienced were caused by this delayed diagnosis.

Should your physician have conducted mammography?

A big part of why it’s so difficult to determine when medical malpractice has happened in these cases comes from the difficulty of diagnosing breast cancer itself. The majority of breast pathology turns out to be benign.

Because of this, it may not be considered negligence if a physician chooses not to order a mammogram. In some cases, it can be considered a safe assumption that it’s a benign pathology.

Experts have been unable to come to a consensus on whether mammography delayed by three months has any impact on the rate of survival. Experts in radiology have been vocally critical of this claim. But expert testimony and the general public’s perception of how detectable this type of cancer also play a significant role in whether or not this constitutes malpractice.