A publication of The Doctors Company ("We were founded by doctors, for doctors.") lists 39 ways for doctors to get sued for for not diagnosing breast cancer or not properly treating it when it has been diagnosed. Here it is.
Ways to Get Sued for Breast Cancer Involving the History and Physical Examination
- Assume that a mass in a young woman is not cancer.
- Ignore a breast mass in a pregnant woman.
- Ignore a breast mass in a lactating woman.
- Ignore a breast mass in an elderly woman.
- Allow a negative physical examination to delay biopsy in a patient with a suspicious mammogram.
(There are 14 other items on this list.)
Lawyers can use this list as a way to do an initial screening of breast cancer cases. I hasten to add, however, that this list (and indeed no list) provides a sufficient basis for filing suit in a breast cancer case. It is still necessary to consult with at least two experts, one on the standard of care and, usually, another on causation. The exception to the need for two experts is in cases involving failure to properly treat diagnosed breast cancer. In such cases, the standard of care expert (usually an oncologist or surgeon) may well be qualified to give causation testimony.)
Note: this insurer is to be applauded for using its resources to educate doctors and thereby reduce the number of injured patients. This is the way the tort system is supposed to work – personal responsibility imposed on tortfeasors encourages safe practices which reduces future injuries. True, here it is the insurance company that is facilitating education and change, but who advances the cause of reducing injuries and death is of little meaning or consequence.