${site.data.firmName}${SEMFirmNameAlt} Martin T. McDonough, M.D., J.D. Emily A. McDonough, Esq.  |  Allison A. McDonough, Esq.
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A delayed diagnosis is as devastating as cancer itself

Nothing can prepare you for hearing the following three words, “you have cancer.” It can feel like all the oxygen in the world could not help you breathe after digesting the meaning of the sentence that just got thrown at you. When you think it cannot get any worse, the doctor admits that this diagnosis is three months in the making. Suddenly a “few months” takes on a whole new meaning. It can be the difference between life and death.

Hitting home

A Passaic County family was forced to face the same situation when a doctor failed to refer their family member to a gastroenterologist for an endoscopy causing the disease to go unnoticed and spread. Unfortunately once the cancer was discovered; it had already spread to the patient’s liver. Vincent Dalessandro went through rounds of chemotherapy but died at the age of 44, almost three years after his diagnosis.

Figures released by the World Health Organization estimates that almost 9 million people die from cancer each year. One major contributing factor is that in many cases, by the time the cancer is diagnosed, it is already at an advanced stage making treatment all the more difficult.

What you do not know can hurt you

When a cancer diagnosis is delayed examining certain elements can help determine whether negligence played a role in the treatment process. Reviewing medical records and making a timeline detailing the chain of events surrounding the diagnosis can help to clarify if the ultimate prognosis could have been affected by earlier detection. The lack of proper treatment planning and delayed diagnosis of a fatal disease is a prescription for an untimely death that many doctors unknowingly dole out.

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