Britton Law, P.A.
Free Consultation For Injury Cases
Due to precautions related to COVID-19, remote consultations via teleconferencing, Facetime or Skype are available. Please contact our office to discuss if this option is appropriate for your situation. Let’s all stay healthy and safe.

Failure to diagnose a North Carolina woman a fatal mistake

A woman in North Carolina experienced such debilitating fatigue and back pain that she put in over 50 doctor's visits over the course of three years to determine the cause of her symptoms. Doctors gave various different diagnoses -- all of them incorrect. It was later determined that she had breast cancer that had taken over her spine and actually fractured her back. Although a scan in Feb. 2008 indicated she might have cancer, she wasn't formally diagnosed until Dec. 2010, when the cancer had already advanced to Stage IV. She estimates that her doctor's failure to diagnose shortened her life expectancy by at least seven years.

While the woman's story is tragic, it is all too common. Missed or delayed diagnoses are believed to cause moderate to severe problems in 10 to 20 percent of cases. Research shows that these errors routinely occur for common ailments such as pneumonia or breast cancer, as opposed to rare illnesses that are more difficult to diagnose. Some allege that the mistakes are solely due to a doctor's flawed thought process.

Although these types of mistakes occur much more frequently than operating on the wrong part of the body, for example, they receive little attention. Often patients who are misdiagnosed learn their correct disorder from a different doctor, while the first one never learns of the mistake. Additionally, healthcare facilities rarely keep data to track their mistakes in diagnosis, making it difficult to learn from past mistakes.

If someone feels they are a victim of a doctor's failure to diagnose, he or she can take action in the form of medical malpractice claim. While people such as the woman in North Carolina cannot be made better, perhaps better awareness of her case will help others who may find themselves in her situation in the future. It is important for members of the medical community to remember that a mistake in diagnoses could lead to the disability or death of one of their patients.

Source:, "Misdiagnosis: More Common Than Drug Errors or Wrong-Site Surgery," Sandra G. Boodman, May 18, 2013

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Send Us An Email. We’ll Listen.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Britton Law, P.A.
2850 Village Drive, Suite 206
Fayetteville, NC 28304

Toll Free: 888-811-9738
Phone: 910-401-3356
Fayetteville Law Office Map

Britton Law, P.A. Office

Call Our Law Firm:

910-401-3356 ~or~ 888-811-9738
Failure to diagnose a North Carolina woman a fatal mistake | Britton Law, P.A.