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OB or obstetrics medical malpractice cases may include failure of the obstetrician to properly perform his or her duties including failure to perform the proper laboratory tests. Failures may include diagnosing RH negative patients, a blood test or amniocentesis that would diagnosis possible defects in the fetus.
GYN medical malpractice may include the failure of a gynecologist to properly perform his or her duties. These include IUD`s improper insertion and monitoring of IUD`s. Other failures include failing to diagnose a gynecological disease such as ovarian, cervical and breast cancer, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, etc.
Breast cancer is probably the most often reported medical negligence claim involving women. Breast cancer is the most common malignancy among women and accounts for 27% of all cancers and 18% of all cancer deaths. Breast cancer is usually detected by self examinations, physical examination by a physician, a mammogram, ultrasounds, aspiration biopsies and magnetic resonance imagining (MRI`s).
Women in the high risk group for breast cancer (ages 40-49) should have mammography every one to two years. Women over 50 should have an annual mammography. Women with dense, fibrous breast tissue in which lesions are difficult to detect should always have a physician perform an exam
A failure to properly diagnose cancer is a significant breach in medical care. Delay in the diagnosis of breast cancer arises in several contexts: (1) the physician`s failure to appropriately evaluate a complaint of a palpable mass, (2) failure to properly read a mammogram, (3) inappropriate reliance upon a negative mammogram in the face of a palpable mass, and (4) failure to perform additional tests such as aspiration biopsy and/or open biopsy of a mass. These are the most common ways in which physicians commit malpractice in connection with breast cancer.
Ovarian cancer is the most frequent cause of gynecologic cancer death because cases are detected in advanced stages of the disease. Late detection is caused because of an absence of any specific symptom while the disease is still localized, as well as the lack of effective strategies for prevention or screening. Nearly 1 woman in 70 will develop the disease.
The ultimate legal question with regard to the diagnosis of ovarian cancer is whether, when the physicians saw the patient, the diagnosis should not have been missed in light of the available developmental facts.
Cancer of the cervix can be detected reliably by obtaining a Pap smear. The American Cancer Society recommends that a Pap smear be obtained every 3 years after 2 negative Pap smears were obtained at yearly intervals. Many gynecologists recommend yearly Pap smears. Cancer of the cervix is the third most frequent of the female cancers. Pap smears are read by laboratories, and it is important to examine old Pap smears to find out if they were properly read by the evaluator. Leading candidates for cervical cancer are those women in low a socio economic status, those who begin sexual intercourse at a young age, those who have more than one sexual partner, women who become pregnant at a young age, and women who have more than one child. Cervical cancer, which is identified early, has an excellent prognosis. The prognosis worsens with each advancing stage of the disease.
A patient cannot and should not sue a physician for the mere development of cancer, but a patient can bring a viable claim for the increased risk of harm resulting from the failure to diagnose and treat the cancer in a timely fashion. It is important to realize that a plaintiff alleging a failure to diagnose cancer has the same burden of proof as in any other medical malpractice lawsuit.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified medical malpractice lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local medical malpractice attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.