Colon Cancer Misdiagnosis
Last updated Monday, November 20th, 2023
Colorectal cancer is a type of cancer that affects the colon or rectum and is the third most common type of cancer diagnosed in the United States. Despite recent advances in screening and testing procedures, colon cancer is still frequently misdiagnosed, which often leads to serious or even fatal complications for patients.
If you suspect you may have received a colon cancer misdiagnosis, you may be entitled to compensation through a medical malpractice claim. The experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Wocl Leydon have the skills and resources to take on the most complex cases in this field, and we’re here to help.
Contact our compassionate legal team today for a free, confidential, no-obligation case review.
What Is Colon Cancer?
The colon, also known as the large intestine or large bowel, is a long organ that connects the small intestine to the anus. Your colon is the final part of your digestive system, working to remove water, nutrients, and waste products from digested food.
Colon cancer is a type of cancer that forms in the colon, typically beginning as a small collection of non-cancerous cells known as polyps. Polyps are typically small and may not produce any symptoms, but they can develop into cancerous tumors over time.
Doctors use a variety of tests to screen patients for polyps or other signs of colon cancer. Early testing and diagnosis give patients their best shot at a full recovery.
Symptoms of Colon Cancer
In many cases, people with early-stage colon cancer do not experience significant symptoms. However, as colon cancer progresses, common symptoms include:
- Changes in bowel habits or stool consistency
- Blood in your stool or rectal bleeding
- Diarrhea, bloating, or constipation
- Persistent abdominal pain, cramps, or gas
- Bodily aches, weakness, or fatigue
- Unexpected or unexplained weight loss
- The feeling of being unable to fully empty your bowels
Malpractice Claims Related to Colon Cancer
Despite being one of the most common types of cancer, colon cancer is frequently overlooked or confused with other conditions with similar symptoms. Many colon cancer malpractice claims include the following types of misdiagnosis:
- Failure to diagnose colon cancer in young adults – Most cases of colon cancer are diagnosed in people who are 50 years of age or older. However, even though colon cancer is becoming more prevalent in younger patients, many physicians fail to rule out colon cancer as a cause of GI symptoms.
- Colon cancer misdiagnosed as IBS – Colon cancer has many symptoms in common with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and is sometimes confused with this relatively mild gastrointestinal disorder.
- Colon cancer misdiagnosed as diverticulitis – Diverticulitis is a condition involving intestinal inflammation or infection that also has symptoms very similar to those of colorectal cancer. Physicians may need to perform colonoscopies to differentiate between these conditions.
- Failure to detect and identify colon cancer during a colonoscopy by a gastroenterologist.
About Colon Cancer Misdiagnosis Lawsuits
Medical malpractice is a complex area of the law. Proving that a medical professional is responsible for misdiagnosing colon cancer can be challenging. You must be able to demonstrate that a medical professional failed to meet the appropriate standard of care in their work, which typically means working with a lawyer and another physician for a second opinion.
If you believe you have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit, you must file your lawsuit within two years of the date of the alleged malpractice or the date you discovered the injury or reasonably should have discovered the injury. However, no matter when you discover the injury, in Connecticut, you must file the lawsuit within three years of the date of the negligent act.
How Does Colon Cancer Progress?
Most colon cancers progress slowly, growing little by little. If permitted to grow too long, the tumor can progress through the wall of the colon.
As cancer cells metastasize, they spread into adjacent lymph nodes. When this occurs, the cancer cells are transported to other parts of the body such as the liver, lungs, and abdomen. Advanced colon cancer can lead to blockages that cause common symptoms such as constipation, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and blood in the stool.
Is Misdiagnosis Always Medical Malpractice?
No. If a medical provider acts in a reasonably careful manner as required by his experience and training, chances are the misdiagnosis would not qualify as malpractice.
Due to the specialized nature of the medical field, it can be difficult to determine whether a misdiagnosis occurred. An attorney can help you investigate your claim and uncover valuable evidence, such as:
- Medical and hospital records
- Diagnostic test results
- Pathology reports
- Second opinions from other providers
- Prescription records
- Colonoscopy reports and photos
Colon Cancer Verdicts and Settlements
At Wocl Leydon, LLC, we take every case we handle personally. Our thorough approach and relentless advocacy have allowed our firm to secure the following favorable colon cancer verdicts and settlements:
- A $900,000 medical malpractice settlement involving a medical internist who failed to order an indicated colonoscopy. As a result, a patient died of colorectal cancer.
- A $2.5 million verdict for a police officer who suffered from severely reduced life expectancy due to failure to diagnose his colorectal cancer until his condition reached Stage 4 and became incurable.
Consult an Experienced Colon Cancer Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you are suffering due to a colon cancer misdiagnosis, the Connecticut personal injury lawyers of Wocl Leydon want to help. To get started with your free consultation, call us for more details or contact us online now.