Tag Archives: Cancer Misdiagnosis

Do The Drugs Januvia, Byetta and Victoza Cause Pancreatic Cancer?

[Update, March 2013: I originally wrote this post in December 2012. Three months later, the FDA announced it "is evaluating unpublished new findings by a group of academic researchers that suggest an increased risk of pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas, and pre-cancerous cellular changes called pancreatic duct metaplasia in patients with type 2 diabetes treated with a class of drugs called incretin mimetics." Several news agencies ran with the news, including AP and Bloomberg, as did some pharma industry bloggers. The JAMA Internal Medicine medical journal ran a column urging more research into the link between the drugs and pancreatic cancer, an ... Continue Reading

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The Arbitrary Tragedy of Cancer Misdiagnosis

Misdiagnosis is the most common type of medical malpractice case – roughly one-quarter of all claims – and the failure to diagnose cancer is the most common form of misdiagnosis that results in a malpractice claim. (For those interested in the statistics, the most commonly missed cancers are breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and prostate cancer.) I thus spend a lot of time thinking and talking about cancer as part of my legal practice, but over the past two weeks it has seemed like cancer has been a part of almost everything I've read and discussed. Last week, I had to ... Continue Reading

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NEJM Study On Malpractice Risk By Physician Specialty

The New England Journal of Medicine released a new study in today's issue, Malpractice Risk According to Physician Specialty, which concluded: There are few recent estimates on the likelihood of malpractice claims and the size of payments according to physician specialty. Using physician-level malpractice claims from a nationwide liability insurer, we found substantial variability across specialties in each of these descriptors of liability risk. Specialties in which the largest proportion of physicians faced a claim were not necessarily those with the highest average payment size. For example, physicians in obstetrics and general surgery — both fields that are regarded as ... Continue Reading

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Medical Malpractice, Errors in Judgment, and The Beginner’s Mind

Last month the American Journal of Medicine published a new study (“Longer Lengths of Stay and Higher Risk of Mortality among Inpatients of Physicians with More Years in Practice”) with the unexpected conclusion that hospitalized patients were more likely to die or stay long in the care of an experienced physician than in the care of a recent graduate from residency: According to findings in the American Journal of Medicine, patients whose doctors had practiced for at least 20 years stayed longer in the hospital and were more likely to die compared to those whose doctors got their medical license ... Continue Reading

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Medical Malpractice Filings in Pennsylvania Are Dwindling, Taking Civil Justice And Patient Safety With Them

Today's Legal Intelligencer tells us what we already know: in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, patients' right to compensation for injuries caused by medical malpractice is dying. Not a quick death, mind you, like the death of patients' rights in Texas (a punishment insurance companies and medical associations are trying to inflict upon New York), but a slow death. I use the word "death" because that's what it often what it takes to qualify for a medical malpractice lawsuit these days. If a patient wasn't killed or permanently injured by the malpractice, then often it doesn't matter how outrageously negligent or reckless the ... Continue Reading

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It’s Legal Malpractice Not To Sue Hospital Residents For Medical Malpractice

It may sound strange coming from me, but I don't like suing people, particularly not in personal injury or professional liability actions where the real target of the suit is not even the company that employed the negligent person, but really the employer’s insurance company. But I often end up suing everyone I can, including employees, for one reason: I don’t have a choice. If, years down the road, some hospital or law firm or bank or construction company wants to claim that the negligent employee was an "independent contractor" or "outside this course and scope of their employment," or ... Continue Reading

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New Medical Malpractice “Tort Reform” Just Another Pack of Lies

Insurance-Funded Congressional Representatives Again Try To Deny Justice For Patients Injured By Medical Malpractice Some bad ideas just will not go away. A few days ago The Pop Tort noted that the new, anti-patient Congress was holding hearings on medical malpractice liability. If they had listened to the excellent testimony of Joanne Doroshow, Executive Director of the Center for Justice & Democracy, they would have realized that injured patients need more, not less, legal protection. But the “hearings” were a sham anyway, and a few days later the insurance-backed members of Congress introduced a new plan to strip away the ... Continue Reading

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The Truth About Those Blockbuster Birth Injury / Obstetrical Malpractice Jury Verdicts

Of the over one million people injured or killed annually by preventable medical malpractice, only a fraction have their claims reviewed by the legal system. We can't be sure how small that fraction is — since the health care industry spends millions of dollars every year convincing Congress to frustrate error-reporting — but we know it is small, since only approximately 85,000 medical malpractice lawsuits are filed, less than 10% of those million annual "iatrogenic" incidents. In the bulk of incidents, either the patient (or their survivors) don't even suspect that malpractice occurred, or they suspect that malpractice occurred and ... Continue Reading

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Walking The Line In Medical Malpractice Cases: New Jersey Appellate Division Vacates $19 Million Birth Injury Award

A recent medical malpractice case from the bought-yourself-an-appeal department: Citing multiple trial errors, a New Jersey appeals court has reversed an $18.9 million verdict against an obstetrician whose delay in ordering a Caesarean delivery a jury found to have caused cerebral palsy in the child. The panel found that Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Louis Locascio failed to limit the testimony of a labor-and-delivery nurse, to issue the jury a contemporaneous limiting instruction on the nurse's testimony and to allow the defendant to admit into evidence a report that had exculpatory value for the obstetrician. ... Zeh, the nurse on duty ... Continue Reading

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The Economic Damage Caused By Medical Malpractice Dwarfs The Cost Of Lawsuits

I've posted many times before about the economic realities of medical malpractice liability. Via The Pop Tort, a new study commissioned by the the Society of Actuaries has revealed the economic cost of medical malpractice in America: SCHAUMBURG, Ill., (Aug. 9, 2010)–Findings from a new study released today estimate that measurable medical errors cost the U.S. economy $19.5 billion in 2008. Commissioned by the Society of Actuaries (SOA) and completed by consultants with Milliman, Inc., the report used claims data to provide an actuarially sound measurement of costs for avoidable medical injuries. Of the approximately $80 billion in costs associated ... Continue Reading

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