Alarmingly, over 12% of cancers are first misdiagnosed. A misdiagnosis or late cancer diagnoses can be the result of many factors, including: a doctor’s failure to discover a tumor that should have been detected, malfunctioning technology, professional misinterpretation of conducted tests, an incorrect procedure, or misplaced or switched laboratory results. Such errors can often result in aggressive cancers being more difficult to treat, which can lead to disfigurement, painful and expensive medical treatment, and even a wrongful death. Claims involving a late diagnosis of cancer can be brought against the negligent physician, other medical professional, radiologist, or third party responsible for manufacturing any defective equipment or technology.
Anna Rahm, a 23-year-old from California, visited a Kaiser Permanente office after suffering from lower back pain in 2009. After a physical exam, Rahm was told that she just needed to loose weight and was referred to a nutritionist and an acupuncture therapist. Rahm and her mother insisted that the doctors conduct an MRI. When Kaiser eventually ordered the MRI three months later, the test found a massive cancerous tumor in Rahm’s pelvis. Because the test was ordered so late, doctors had to amputate her right leg, half of her pelvis and part of her spine.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Rahm was awarded $28.2 million as a result of the late diagnosis of cancer by her Kaiser Permanente doctors. Rahm argued that if the cancer was caught earlier, her limbs could have been salvaged. The damages awarded will go toward covering her future medical expenses, loss of earnings, and pain and suffering.
Although Kaiser Permanente has a fairly good reputation, the nonprofit company has been fined in the past for failing to provide timely mental health treatment to patients.