There are times when failure to diagnose cancer medical malpractice cases in Georgia -- even ones that seem fairly clear cut -- can fail to hold up in court. In some cases, even seemingly minor details or a slight oversight can sink a claim.

Sometimes the problem boils down to miscommunication. If the doctor was never made aware of the cancer symptoms the plaintiff claims to have experienced, the claim may be in jeopardy. It’s not uncommon for a patient to remember reporting certain symptoms to the doctor, only to find out later that there is no mention of the symptoms in the medical record. Also, if the patient only ever saw the doctor when something was wrong, and not regularly, the doctor may be able to state that the patient chose to forego preventive care. Because of that, the doctor may be able to say there was little opportunity for preventive screening to take place.

In other instances, it may be revealed that the doctor made recommendations to the patient during each visit, but if the patient didn’t comply with them, the claim may be in trouble. Also, if a delayed diagnosis of cancer can be traced back to specific appointments, the doctor may not hold much blame at all, such as when patients reschedule and cancel appointments. If the delay between appointments ends up being a long time due to the patient's actions, and it can be proven to have had an effect on the diagnosis, the claim may not hold up.

Even if it can be proven that a plaintiff’s cancer was diagnosed later than it should have been, it may not be enough to win the case. If there was no significant change in the prognosis of the cancer between when it should have been diagnosed and when it ultimately was, the doctor can argue that the late diagnosis had no impact on the treatability or survivability of the cancer. If an earlier diagnosis wouldn’t have made a significant difference, and it can be proven in court by the defense, it may ruin the claim.

There are cancers which are equally as devastating whether diagnosed at three months or a year later. On the other hand, there are cancers that can be extremely time sensitive, such as breast cancers, and possess a much higher potential for proving liability because of a failure to diagnose or late diagnosis.
Because of the complexity of any medical malpractice claim, especially a failure to diagnose cancer case, it is a good idea to meet with an experienced Georgia medical malpractice attorney to discuss your situation to determine if you may be entitled to damages.