Melanoma and Skin Cancer Misdiagnosis Lawyer in New York

Did You or a Loved One Suffered Serious Injury or Death Because a Doctor Failed to Diagnose Melanoma or Another Type of Skin Cancer?

The NYC Skin Cancer Misdiagnosis Attorneys at Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf have successfully represented plaintiffs in Melanoma Misdiagnosis Lawsuits against dermatologists or other healthcare providers in NY.

Our attorneys have 100 years of experience representing plaintiffs who have been injured or died as the result of a delayed or wrong diagnosis. Our team of Medical Misdiagnosis Attorneys includes 2 board-certified physicians who can assist you in reviewing you melanoma misdiagnosis case and help you understand the full medical scope of your claim. Our team conducts exhaustive investigations and retains highly qualified skin cancer experts to determine the full circumstances of the misdiagnosis. We also hire financial professionals to fully assess the losses associated with the misdiagnosis and to obtain a fair resolution for melanoma misdiagnosis victims and their family.

People Still Die of Melanoma

“No one should die of malignant melanoma” according to Dr. Bernard Ackerman writing in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. This pronouncement, written by a noted authority in 1985, could not be clearer. However, 35 years after this “Mission Accomplished” statement was published malignant melanoma still presents a significant challenge in both morbidity and mortality.

Some of the Reasons Relate to a Failure by Healthcare Providers to Offer Their Patients Body Screening and Mole Checks and in Failing to Educate Their Patients on the Dangers of a Late Diagnosis of Melanoma

Melanoma tumors grow but fortunately the majority of melanomas grow slowly and superficially over years before they begin to grow invasively. On the other hand, a small percentage take only a few months to metastasize or spread. Whether of the slow or fast-growing type the goal for patients and their doctors is to diagnose and treat this disease before it has a chance to spread. Early diagnosis and treatment are the goals in successfully treating this disease.

A Failure to Timely Diagnose and Appropriately Treat Melanomas Will Unfortunately Reduce a Patient's Chance for Survival

Early diagnosis of melanoma requires less treatment and results in increased life expectancy. Early and regular repeat screenings for melanoma are a Standard of Care for those with familial history, genetic risk factors, and exposure to cancer causing conditions. Unfortunately, a significant number of patients are not screened or referred to specialists, such as dermatologists. Compounding this problem is a lack of familiarity in the appearance of early melanoma lesions and the need to biopsy them for study under a microscope.

Many melanomas are very easy to recognize but still go undiagnosed for years because many physicians fail to educate their patients about what to look for and when to seek a doctor’s attention. Many misconceptions exist about the seriousness of the disease and relative ease of treatment when caught early. These too should be the subject of conversations by physicians and their patients but sadly they are not. In areas where screening programs are undertaken the rate of death from melanoma is positively impacted.

The fact is that healthcare providers miss the opportunity to make more early diagnosis of melanomas because they don’t take the time to discuss the need to examine their patients carefully, especially any moles which may appear on their skin. According to some reports 2/3 of doctors fail to offer their patients full body and mole checks. Instead they wait for their patients to ask for them or to report the presence of a suspicious lesion. Waiting for patients to make unsolicited requests for body and mole examinations is both dangerous and below the standard of care. The fact that only 1/3 of physicians offer this service without being solicited does not make it good practice.

Even When the Disease is Not Fatal, Delays in Diagnosis of Melanoma May Result in Amputation of Limbs or More Aggressive Surgeries and Excision of Tissue

The excuse most often given for failing to offer patients screening and mole check is a lack of time. Doctors see as many patients a day as possible and screenings can take more than the 15 minutes most physicians allot to see a patient.

This focus on profit over safety leads to the inextricable fact is that many cancers, including melanoma, are diagnosed late causing patients to undergo otherwise unnecessary invasive and painful treatments including surgery in order to attempt rid themselves of this disease. Even when successful the resultant disfigurement presents a toll on the patient’s body which can be devastating to their enjoyment of life.

High-risk groups include those with (1) personal history of skin cancer; (2) more than 20 nevi on the arms; and (3) sun-damaged skin on uncovered areas. Until recently cases involving failures to timely diagnose and treat cancer, such as melanoma, were governed by the same 2 ½ year statute of limitations which governs most medical malpractice cases. As a result, many such cases were dismissed by the courts because the lack of care occurred more than 2 ½ years before the cancer was even diagnosed. In those cases, the defendant doctors could admit that they had departed from good and accepted standards of medical malpractice and that those departures caused the patient’s cancer to spread but because the negligent care and diagnosis occurred more than 2 ½ years apart, the courts would dismiss the case.

What Are the Statute of Limitations in a Melanoma Misdiagnosis Lawsuit?

Today, owing to a recent change in the law in New York State (the Lavern’s Law), patients whose diagnosis of melanoma, or any cancer was missed are allowed to hold their health care providers responsible even if the wrong diagnosis was over 2 ½ years ago provided that a lawsuit was commenced within 2 ½ years of the diagnosis.

Lavern’s Law was named after a young woman who succumbed to cancer but was unable to sue the doctor and hospital involved as her suit was commenced after the expiration of the statute of limitations. Her case was governed by a 1 year and 90-day statute of limitations (actions against hospitals owned and operated by NYC’s Health & Hospitals Corporation are governed by this shorter statute of limitations). Today her case could be timely if a notice of claim was timely filed and an action commenced within 1 year and 90 days of the diagnosis of cancer. Our partner, New York Medical Malpractice Lawyer Jeffrey Bloom who specializes in failure to diagnose cancer and who also serves as as the Co-Chair of the Medical Malpractice Committee and LAWPAC of New York (the Trial Lawyers’ political action committee) for the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, was instrumental in the passing of this law.

What Are the Steps in a Missed Skin Cancer Lawsuit in NY?

NY Patients who are injured because a healthcare provider failed to diagnose their skin cancer have the initial burden of explaining to the court and jury that there is a standard of care and that it was violated resulting in their injury. This is done through the testimony of expert witnesses. The patient, through his or her skin cancer misdiagnosis attorney and their experts, must establish in court how the patient suffered harm as a result of the defendant’s malpractice.

What Damages Are Subject to Compensation in a Failure to Diagnose Skin Cancer Lawsuit in New York?

The most common damages claimed in a melanoma or other wrong diagnosis of skin cancer in New York are the pain and suffering caused by the harm which may include death, the need to undergo additional medical treatment due to a misdiagnosis, corrective treatment, lost wages.

Our Manhattan melanoma misdiagnosis attorneys have achieved verdicts and settlements that are among the largest in New York, If your melanoma or other skin cancer went undiagnosed or was misdiagnosed please contact our firm to discuss your case.

Client Reviews
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"August 2020, my mother was in a horrific car accident. I contacted Gair Gair Conason to handle my mother's case. Everyone at the firm who helped us with the case did such a fantastic job with being so efficient. We could not have been more satisfied with the services we received." [Extract] K.C.