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Terminal illness refers to an illness for which there is no cure and which is expected to result in the death of the patient within a relatively short period of time. Many people immediately think of advanced or metastatic cancers when thinking about terminal illnesses; however, a great number of diseases are sadly terminal, lacking reliable cures and ending in death for the individuals who contract them. Generally speaking, individuals whose prognosis affords them less than six months to live are considered terminal patients. The six month time frame is arbitrary, however, and many patients with terminal illnesses will survive for longer than six months yet still eventually succumb to their diseases. Congestive heart failure, late-stage AIDS, and cancer are all examples of terminal illnesses.

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Medical Negligence

When a patient contracts a terminal illness while in a hospital or as a result of negligent doctors, the patient’s family may have the right to sue for malpractice on behalf of their loved one. The suit can include medical bills, lost wages, emotional and physical anguish, pain and suffering, as well as other related costs. A reliable and experienced medical malpractice attorney can assist the family in filing a claim, ensuring their needs and their loved one’s needs are met. While dealing with a terminal illness is an emotionally difficult experience, it is important to bear in mind that those at fault should be held accountable for their actions in order to somewhat ease the physical, emotional, and financial burdens on both the patient and his or her surviving family.

Early Diagnosis and Treatment

The most common terminal illness today is cancer, but numerous other diseases can ultimately result in untimely death. It is equally important to remember that early and accurate diagnoses are critical in treating many diseases which can be halted or cured at early stages but become untreatable at advanced stages. For this reason, an early misdiagnosis that prevents early treatment for disease and eventually results in late-stage terminal illness is one type of medical malpractice for which patients and their families should seek qualified legal representation in order to ensure the responsible parties are held accountable for the malpractice and the impact it has had on the patient’s quality and length of life.