How many of you have had acquaintances, friends, or family members diagnosed with breast cancer in the last five years? The reality is that you probably know someone, or at least have known someone in the past. The disease affects hundreds of thousands of women, 40,000 of whom will continue to die each year if we don’t find a way to eradicate breast cancer soon. Coping with cancer is hard enough — but what happens when you have to cope with the possibility of medical malpractice?
Malpractice cases are uncommon in general, but they arise in certain situations more than others. Those with breast cancer will want to pay especially close attention to the warning signs that their healthcare providers may have made a mistake.
Doctors sometimes fail to paint a complete picture of a person’s family history, sometimes due to laziness, sometimes due to a patient’s unwillingness to share, or sometimes simply due to incompetence. No matter how it happens, it’s part of the job to get it right, and get it right the first time. An incorrect family history can lead to incorrectly ordered tests to locate specific genes that can impact a patient’s fighting chance against breast cancer.
The genetic aspects of fighting cancer are becoming easier to use to our advantage, because sequencing the entire human genome is less expensive than ever before.
Communication is key: communication between you and your doctors, and then communication between your doctors. A break in communication can result in missed or inaccurate tests, or delayed treatment. These errors are the basis for many medical malpractice lawsuits involving breast cancer, and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Even though women should check themselves for lumps at least once a month, some doctors won’t take a patient seriously if she finds something he missed during the doctor’s visit. If a doctor fails to follow through with routine healthcare, you know something is wrong. Don’t let them say it’s your imagination. Get a second opinion when necessary. Or a third.
Misreading of lab tests by technicians or other medical personnel can lead to misdiagnosis, which can in turn lead to improperly prescribed medications. Either issue can result in delay of proper treatment, which can turn life-threatening. In addition, having the wrong medication prescribed — or even wrongly dosed — can result in other complications or terrible side effects.