Leukemia is a disease that affects a person’s bone marrow. The bone marrow of a patient with leukemia produces an abnormally large amount of leukocytes or white blood cells. White bloods cells are a body’s defense against disease and infection. Patients who suffer from leukemia have a difficult time fighting off diseases and infection. This inability of the body to protect itself can make even the most common illnesses life threatening.
How Leukemia is Diagnosed
Physicians typically diagnose leukemia in one of three ways or a combination of the three. They use bone marrow biopsies, physical examination, and blood tests to determine if a patient may have leukemia. The first means of diagnosis that physicians normally turn to is the physical examination. They will inspect the patient for bruising, paleness, and sites of sustained bleeding. If he notices these signs, the next step is to check if the patient’s spleen is enlarged. After this, blood tests may be ordered. If the tests show elevated blood levels, a bone marrow biopsy should be ordered.
What is Standard of Care?
Standard of care is the responsibility the doctor accepts when he or she agrees to treat a patient. Standard of care requires that a doctor act in their patient’s best interest at all times while still following the patient’s wishes. If the doctor does not provide the necessary standard of care, the patient may be able to pursue a medical malpractice case.
What is Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when an injury is sustained due to a physician or other health care professional’s negligence. Determining negligence is often difficult, but the courts view negligence as behavior that differs from what a normal doctor would do in similar circumstances.
How Malpractice Applies to Leukemia
A patient wanting to pursue a malpractice claim must be able to prove that the physician did not properly diagnose their condition, and because of this late diagnosis, the disease was allowed to spread.
Seeking Professional Legal Help
A patient that feels they have suffered as a result of their doctor failing to diagnose them with leukemia in a timely manner should seek the counsel of a qualified medical malpractice attorney.