Gorovitz & Borten, P.C.
Attorneys at Law

550 Cochituate Road, Suite 25
Framingham, Massachusetts
Tel: (781) 890-9095
Cancer Misdiagnosis
Most medical conditions are progressive diseases which require timely diagnosis.
Even the gravest medical illness benefits from early diagnosis and early treatment.
The failure to diagnose a patient's medical condition will often allow the patient to
suffer for a prolonged period of time and in some instances suffer irreversible
health damage. The affected patient is doubly harmed while prolonging their
suffering and postponing, and at times denying, lifesaving treatment to be properly
initiated. The greater the delay in diagnosing a medical condition, the lower the
chances for full (or even meaningful) recovery. Similarly, the greater the delay in
commencing the appropriate treatment, the lower the chances for full recovery.

Cancer in particular is a disease that is associated with high morbidity and
mortality. As such, it has been the subject of intense research and epidemiologic
studies. For some cancers, the origin, pathophysiology and growth patterns are
well known and epidemiological studies have demonstrated a direct causal
relationship between risk factors and lesions that are early precursors of cancer for
a large number of these neoplasms. In some malignancies, exposure to substances
or medications that predispose an individual to developing cancer have been well
established (asbestos, estrogen, radiation). In other circumstances, failure to
intervene in a timely manner allows the progression from early abnormalities into
early stages of cancer and then to advanced invasive cancer.

Risk factors and precursors that are known to be associated with a higher
incidence of a particular type of cancer include:

  • Age
  • Race
  • Geographic origin
  • Family history (genetic predisposition)
  • Obstetrical history
  • Social history (smoking, alcohol)
  • Pre-existing medical condition (cervical dysplasia, endometrial hyperplasia,
    colon polyposis, hepatis cirrhosis, gastritis, Barrett’s esophagus)
  • Pre-existing cancer (prior cancer)
  • Menstrual history (anovulation)
  • Sexual history (cervical cancer in women)
  • Exposure history (asbestos, estrogen, radiation)

In many instances, the risk factors and predisposing conditions for particular types
of cancer are so well  known, that screening guidelines established by different
specialty’s medical societies have become the accepted standard of care. The best
well known screening guidelines include:

  • Physical examination
  • Papanicolau smear for cervical cancer
  • Mammography for breast cancer
  • Fecal occult blood for gastrointestinal cancers
  • Colonoscopy for colon and rectal cancer
  • Gastroduodenoscopy for gastric cancer
  • PSA test for prostate cancer

Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis is not always the result of medical malpractice.
Excellent physicians are often surprised at the difficulty to make an accurate
diagnosis in some patients. Some illnesses or injuries may not become immediately
evident even to the best trained physicians.

Nonetheless, a medical misdiagnosis will be considered to be the result of medical
malpractice when  the medical provider (physician, nurse practitioner, midwife) fails
to take the appropriate measures in accordance with the acceptable standard of
care under similar circumstances. Causes that lead to a medical misdiagnosis

  • Failure to take a complete medical history (including a complete family
  • Failure to determine risk factors or predispositions to certain disease
  • Failure to determine a patient's history of allergies
  • Failure to screen high risk patients for a particular medical condition
  • Failure to establish a differential diagnosis based on the patient's signs and
    symptoms (complaints)
  • Failure to order the appropriate tests to confirm or rule out a particular
  • Failure to follow up on abnormal tests results
  • Failure to order a repeat test for inconclusive results
  • Failure to identify that a test result is abnormal for a particular patient
  • failure to monitor a patient after treatment has been started
  • Failure to make the appropriate referral to another physician  more qualified
    in a particular area of medicine (specialist)
  • Failure to biopsy
  • Failure to reevaluate a diagnosis after the patient's fails to respond to
  • Failure to properly interpret test results
  • Failure to act in a timely manner after test results become available
  • Premature discharge from hospital

If you believe that you or your loved have been misdiagnosed, victims of a delayed
diagnosis of cancer or wrongly treated for any type of cancer and suspect the
injury may be the result of a  medical provider’s error that was diagnosable,
avoidable and/or preventable, you may have a valid cause of action. The injury
may be the result of a medical provider's mistake in handling your gynecologic
condition and the result of medical negligence.
Dr. Borten has over 35 years of
experience as an obstetrician and gynecologic surgeon to fully evaluate the merits
of your potential case. Allow the Boston area medical malpractice attorneys at
Gorovitz & Borten help you assert your rights and get the compensation you
Contact Information
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possible), please contact us by phone, fax or e-mail with your question or concern.

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