Patients entrust their medical care to treating physicians. Many don’t worry about the possibility of a mistake, one that could endanger their health. Yet mistakes are a real risk for cancer patients.
The concern stems from a new report released by the Institute of Medicine, which indicates that cancer care could be in a crisis. The variety of complex issues facing doctors could lead to medical mistakes, such as administering the wrong treatment.
What is the “cancer crisis”?
More and more people are being diagnosed with cancer, yet there aren’t enough medical professionals in the oncology field to address their needs.
With so many treatment options available, it’s difficult to choose the right practitioner. Some doctors follow treatment guidelines devised by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, while others follow their own. Then there are physicians who aren’t aware of or don’t follow any guidelines. The IOM recommends a greater shift toward patient-centered and evidence-based care.
How might doctors make mistakes?
Many patients assume their doctors are always knowledgeable about their conditions and know how to treat them. But doctors may make mistakes in weighing the pros and cons of a particular treatment plan, the effects it could have on the patient’s future health, and side effects the patients could suffer.
Often, miscommunication is a problem, not only between the doctor and patient, but also others who are involved. There can be several medical professionals who provide cancer care to a patient, such as an oncologist, primary care physician and more.
If the quality of care received is poor and a doctor’s negligence results in further harm or injury, the affected patient could have legal options. To discuss whether a serious medical mistake was preventable and is the result of negligence, contact an attorney. At Gacovino, Lake & Associates we can help explain one’s legal rights and options in a medical malpractice case.