Visitor Question

Oncologist Failed to Give Tests to Properly Diagnose Cancer…

Submitted By: Linda (Ontario, California)

My mom battled cancer in her left breast in 1984 and was under the care of an oncologist up until 1994. After 10 years she was given a clean bill of health and released from the oncologist’s care.

In 2004 she was diagnosed with cancer in her right breast. Again she was referred to and under the care of the same oncologist for 9 years. During that time no tests or scans were given. At the end of 2012 she was given a clean bill of health, and even though she complained of pain there were still no test or scans given.

In March 2013 Mom was taken to the ER for a high fever and pain on her right side. A CT scan showed stage 4 lung cancer! Mom was sent once again back to the same oncologist and at that time my mom was told by the oncologist that she has less then 9 months to live!

This so-called cancer specialist for 9 years did not perform a test or a scan, and missed the signs and symptoms of the cancer. Well she is far from a specialist in my book. The pain and struggle that I see my Mom go through daily breaks my heart, and to know that if a simple scan was ordered then it would have been found in the early stages makes me very upset. If this specialist had only done her job.

Is there anything I can do about this doctor not ordering the scans? The oncologist did not do the tests to find the cancer and instead let it grow! Is this malpractice? Thanks for any information you can give to help.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Linda,

In the State of California the Statute of Limitations for medical malpractice is one year from the date when a living person first becomes aware of, or should have been aware of the physician’s negligence (i.e. medical malpractice).

In some cases when a plaintiff (your mother) doesn’t know when the physician’s negligence occurred she has one year from the date she first became aware of, or should have become aware of the negligent act.

Therefore if your mother is claiming medical malpractice as a result of a delayed cancer diagnosis or a misdiagnosis, she has one year from the date of the correct diagnosis of cancer to file a medical malpractice claim involving the earlier negligence.

The rule for medical malpractice can be somewhat arbitrary. You and your mother should immediately seek the advice and counsel of a medical malpractice attorney. The attorney will be able to review your mother’s medical records to determine the accurate dates for the alleged malpractice and time for filing a lawsuit.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: April 10, 2013

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