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Missed Diagnosis. Buchanan & Buchanan.

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Missed Diagnosis

One of the most common types of medical malpractice cases is misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of cancer. This is particularly true of breast cancer, which represents a large segment of medical malpractice lawsuits in the United States.  One reason is breast cancer is so common compared to other cancers.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer for U.S. women and leading cause of death for women ages 40 to 55. Despite this, many women who develop breast cancer and could be treated are denied the opportunity when physicians negligently fail to diagnose the condition until too late.

The result of this negligence is denial of treatment options or survival.  These are common acts of negligence by physicians in failing to timely diagnose or treat breast cancer:

  • Failing to order a mammogram, misinterpreting a mammogram, or otherwise failing to react to concerning mammogram findings
  • Relying upon mammography in place of a physical breast examination
  • Failing to perform a breast examination which would have identified an obvious tumor
  • Failing to find a feelable lump during a breast examination
  • Diagnosing a breast infection instead of a cancerous tumor
  • Diagnosing a tumor as harmless and failing to perform a biopsy
  • Disregarding a history of sharp pain in the breast
  • Failing to determine cause of nipple discharge
  • Relying upon negative aspiration biopsy
  • Failing to order additional radiological tests, a biopsy, or ultrasound when needed
  • Failing to communicate an abnormal result to patient
When a diagnosis of cancer is made, the physician examines the affected tissue and identifies the cancer by microscopic review of the cells. The doctor then classifies the cancer on how advanced it is –  known as staging. Probability breast cancer will recur in a patient relates to stage of the malignancy. If breast cancer is detected and addressed before the cancer has spread, the chances of survival are very good. Any undue delay in diagnosing or treating breast cancer has devastating consequences.


Birth injury occurs during the birthing process and can damage nerves, break bones, or injure the brain.
Cerebral palsy is a permanent movement disorder that can be caused by injury to a child's brain during the birthing process.
Complications after surgery can be from a surgeon's negligent conduct in surgery.
A missed diagnosis often means a delay in proper treatment, often with devastating consequences, for example, medical cancer cases.
When a healthcare provider, in acting or failing to act, does not comply with the standard of practice in medicine.
Buchanan & Buchanan, P.L.C.
171 Monroe Ave. N.W. Suite 750
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
voice: (616) 458.2464
toll free: 1-800-272-4080
fax: (616) 458.0608
email: mail@buchananfirm.com