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Study looks at breast cancer malpractice claims

| May 4, 2016 | Failure To Diagnose & Misdiagnosis

A new study by the Doctors Co., and CRICO has found that the largest percentage of breast cancer malpractice claims are from patients who allege a diagnosis of breast cancer was delayed. Sixty-nine percent of breast cancer malpractice between 2009 and 2014 were due to an alleged failure to diagnose. The other 39 percent were due to the physician’s alleged negligent treatment of breast cancer patients.

The study analyzed 562 malpractice claims filed by breast cancer patients. These claims came from the databases of both CIRCO and Doctors Co. Almost half of the 342 cases that alleged a delayed diagnosis involved radiology. However, the cases that involved radiology didn’t mean that the radiologist was always at fault or negligent. In some of the cases, a primary care physicians or other members of the medical staff may not have read the radiologist’s report correctly.

Thirty-nine percent of the 342 cases involving a delayed diagnosis occurred in family medicine office settings. Some of the factors that contributed to a delayed diagnosis were delay in ordering diagnostic tests, inadequate assessment of patient and misinterpretation of the results of diagnostic studies. There were 43 patients who died because of a delay in diagnosis, according to the study report.

Of the 220 claims that the management of their breast cancer was negligent, 42 percent were related to surgery. This included the initial surgery and subsequent surgeries.

This analysis provides an opportunity for physicians to improve their care and treatment of breast cancer patients. Not only does this include an accurate and timely diagnosis, but also making sure the ongoing management of patients with the disease is done correctly and thoroughly. Better forms for documentation for clinicians are needed, as is a better alignment of what patients can expect during treatment or surgery.

If you have been subjected to a physician’s negligence, you may have cause to seek compensation for your injuries and other damages. We have several webpages on the subject and invite you to read through them to gain a better understanding of how we may be able to help you.


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