Childhood Cancer Malpractice Lawyers in New Jersey
Representing Victims of Negligent Diagnosis and Treatment for Pediatric Cancers
While relatively rare, children do get cancer. In fact, it is the number one cause of childhood fatalities from disease. Although the cause of most pediatric cancers is largely unknown, a small percentage are thought to arise from genetic mutations that cause cells to reproduce uncontrollably, ultimately leading to cancer. Often, a child will be diagnosed with cancer that affects the brain, organs, bones, eyes, blood, spinal cord, or neurological system. These dangerous childhood cancers have the potential to cause permanent damage or even death, particularly when they are allowed to progress undiagnosed and untreated. Regardless of which type of cancer a child is suffering from, quick diagnosis and treatment initiation are critical to survival. For this reason, negligent doctors and medical professionals who are delayed in diagnosing and treating childhood cancers can deprive their young patients of the ability to successfully fight the disease. In the most tragic of cases, such medical negligence can cost a child their life. If this happened to your child, you should know that there are legal avenues available to you.
Our team of New Jersey pediatric malpractice lawyers represents children who have experienced harm due to the delayed diagnosis and treatment of childhood cancer, as well as victims whose pediatric cancers were initially misdiagnosed. Whether your child suffered injury or death resulting from medical negligence by a pediatrician, oncologist, radiologist, primary care doctor, or another healthcare provider, our attorneys have the knowledge and particular skill to investigate the case and formulate the most compelling claim for damages. We frequently represent children and infants in this highly complex area of law and will do everything in our power to obtain the compensation your child deserves. To discuss a childhood cancer misdiagnosis or negligence case in New Jersey with an attorney free of charge, call 866-708-8617 now or request a free consultation online.
Common Forms of Pediatric Cancer
Some of the more common cancers that children develop include:
- Rhabdomyosarcoma (skeletal soft tissue)
- Bone cancer
- Neuroblastoma (nerve cells); and
- Various tumors of the brain, kidneys, spinal cord, and eyes.
Leukemia, a blood and bone marrow cancer, constitutes over one fourth of childhood cancers. Children with lymphocytic leukemia and acute myeloid leukemia, two quick-developing cancers, may suffer from generalized fatigue and weakness, weight loss, fever, bleeding, and joint pain. Also potentially life-threatening and the second-most common cancer, brain and spinal cord tumors affect about 26% of all pediatric cancer patients. Although there are many types, symptoms often include headaches, blurred vision, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, seizures, and coordination difficulties.
Another relatively common cancer, lymphoma, attacks the immune system and appears in the lymph nodes or tissues, affecting tonsils, bone marrow, and organs. Symptoms include fever, sweating, fatigue, lumps in the neck, groin, and armpit, and weight loss. Hodgkin’s lymphoma affects older teens or young adults, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma affects young children over 3 years old. Lymphomas are rapid developers also, so they require immediate diagnosis and treatment.
Yet another form of childhood cancer, known as neuroblastoma, affects mainly infants and children under the age of 10, beginning in the womb. Since it is an abdominal tumor, the indicating symptoms are swollen bellies, fever, and bone pain. A cancer targeting young children as well, called Wilms tumor, affects children ages three to four. A much rarer cancer, Wilms tumor causes swelling in the abdomen, fever, pain, nausea, and loss of appetite.
Finally, a skeletal soft tissue cancer, Rhabdomyosarcoma, can attack any part of the body with swelling, pain, and lumps. This disease constitutes about 3% of childhood cancers, while retinoblastoma, cancer of the eye, affects about 2%, mostly children ages 2 to 6. Older children and teens develop bone cancers most frequently, though anyone can have it. One type of cancer of the bones called osteosarcoma affects the leg and arm bones, with swelling and bone pain. Ewing sarcoma, which seldom occurs, develops in the pelvis, chest, or leg bones, causing pain and swelling.
How Childhood Cancer is Diagnosed
Some of these childhood cancers are difficult to diagnose. Depending on the patient’s signs, age, health, previous test results, and symptoms, physicians may order various diagnostic tests, such as blood count and chemistry tests, urine tests, and lumbar puncture tests, in addition to imaging tests such as x-rays, ultrasounds, CT scans, and MRIs, Early detection and diagnosis are directly correlated with higher chances of survival. Unfortunately, most cancers share common symptoms with typical childhood illnesses and so are often misdiagnosed or undiagnosed.
Potential Treatments for Pediatric Cancer
When it is diagnosed, cancer treatment for children, whose bodies are still growing, differs from adult treatment. However, so much depends on the type of cancer and how far along the cancer has progressed. For example, Hodgkin’s lymphoma is far more responsive to treatment than other forms of cancer. A pediatric oncologist at a children’s cancer center, working in conjunction with other specialists, might recommend surgery alone or combined with other therapies, including radiation, chemotherapy, and immunological treatments. They might also recommend stem cell transplant.
Surgery is generally used to remove cancer, like tumors, from the body, while radiation kills cancer cells and shrinks tumors. Chemotherapy uses medication to kill cancer cells, but cancer specialist teams may concoct targeted medications to precisely match the genetic makeup of the specific cancer. Immunotherapy boosts the immune system to help fight cancer, and other therapies aim to stop the cancer cell changes that cause them to grow and spread, or to slow the growth, as is the case with hormone therapy. Lastly, stem cell transplants replace the destroyed stem cells caused by chemotherapy or radiation.
Post-cancer treatment, pediatric patients may suffer delayed effects of having healthy cells damaged, sometimes well into adulthood. Over two-thirds of childhood cancer survivors develop physical, mental, and intellectual long-term impairments, some even life-threatening. In particular, children with endocrine, cardiac, and growth deficiencies often require life-long monitoring and care by many specialists. Additionally, others needing extended treatment suffer post-traumatic stress disorder, high anxiety, and cognitive delays. Sadly, many children who suffer from cancer in their youth subsequently experience social isolation and educational lag in comparison to their peers.
Failure to Diagnose or Treat a Child’s Cancer
Before, during, and after treatment, physicians must be aware of the various pediatric cancer signs and symptoms, since time is the enemy when it comes to most cancers. Survival rates improve with early detection and the right treatment for the right cancer. Quality of life after treatment also depends on the physician’s follow-up and care, recognizing the multiple conditions that may arise post-treatment. From delayed or misdiagnoses to delayed treatment and poor follow up, primary care physicians, specialists, and hospital staff may affect pediatric cancer outcomes by negligent oversight and incompetence.
NJ Childhood Cancer Negligence Attorneys Fight for Your Family
No child should not have to suffer injury greater than cancer itself, especially if it is caused by healthcare provider malpractice. If you believe medical professionals improperly diagnosed, treated, or delayed in finding your child’s cancer, you should consider consulting with a pediatric oncology negligence attorney to discuss potential grounds for a lawsuit. A successful medical malpractice claim may assist you financially with future care for your child’s past and continued treatment, in addition to compensating your child and family for the undue pain and suffering caused. Representing clients throughout New Jersey, our team has extensive experience in this area, and we can review your case to determine your ability to recover compensation for your child’s injuries or loss of life. Call 866-708-8617 to learn more. The consultation is absolutely free and we provide representation at no cost unless we successfully obtain a recovery.
- Childhood Cancers, National Cancer Institute
- Pediatric Cancer Survivors Require Additional Care and Monitoring, ONS Voice
- Diagnosing Childhood Cancer, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital