In our last post, we looked briefly at a recent study which highlighted, at least to a small extent, the concern that family physicians may not have adequate knowledge of cancer screening guidelines, at least in the context of recommending effective screening for lung cancer.
This is concerning, of course, because many patients rely on their family physician to not only be knowledgeable about available cancer screening methods, but also to recommend appropriate cancer screening when the time is right for it. While no physician is perfect, a patient should be able to expect a physician both appreciates the effectiveness of cancer screening and follows accepted cancer screening guidelines when advising patients.
In medical malpractice litigation, one of the primary tasks for the plaintiff is to demonstrate that the physician defendant failed to follow a recognized standard of care. Standards of care, on the one hand, are not set in stone and can vary geographically and certainly do change over time based on available scientific evidence. On the other hand, cancer screening guidelines are relatively well established, not changing significantly from year to year. They are stable enough that physicians cannot object that knowledge of them constitutes cutting edge research.
Failure to diagnose cancer in a timely manner can have significant consequences for a patient, both emotionally and financially. Patients whose condition has significantly progressed because of a physician’s failure to follow accepted screening guidelines, or because of any other failure in medical investigation, have the right to seek appropriate compensation. Working with an experienced attorney is critical to ensure the patients have guidance and advocacy throughout the legal process, and our firm is committed to this task.