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Factors that may be Considered when Evaluating a Breach in the Standard of Care for Failure to Diagnose & Delay in Treatment of Cervical Cancer

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This is a follow up to my blog post about the case against Labcorp for its failure to diagnose a woman for cervical cancer for several years, and when it was finally diagnosed, the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes. The following are Factors including, but not limited to, important Factors that may be Considered in a Medical Malpractice Case involving the Failure to Diagnose and Delay in the Treatment of Cervical Cancer, and why each factor is important:

1.) Which, if any, did the Patient Present of these Types of Symptoms such as: 1.) A change in habits of the urinary/bowel; 2.) Bleeding Post-Coital or Post-Menopausal; 3.) Any other Vaginal Bleeding that is Not Normal; and/or 4.) Pain in the Pelvic or Leg areas.

Why is this important? This is important since Post-Coital Bleeding or Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding are the most common symptoms for which a patient presents for cervical carcinoma.

2.) Was a Complete and Detailed Medical History of the Patient Obtained and, if so, were any Risk Factors Present?

Why is this important? A complete and detailed medical history of the patient is very important, if not essential, in order to disclose risk factors that may be pertinent to the diagnosis of cervical cancer.

3.) Was the Patient given a complete Physical Examination?

Why is this important? At the core of the process of diagnosis for cervical cancer is a complete, accurate, and detailed Medical History as described herein above along with a Physical Examination that is focused and completed carefully. In order to make the best use of any further testing, it is imperative that the patient's exam will give the clinician as much information as possible to make determinations for the appropriate further testing.

4.) Did the Patient receive a Routine Screening that can be used to Detect Cervical Cancer in the Early Stages?

Why is this important? If a patient perviously had cervical carcinoma or has any increased risk factors for cervical cancer, then the patient should be receiving periodic screening.

5.) If there was a Screening Test performed, then What was the Result of said Test?

Why is this important? New Guidelines for the Screening of Cervical Cancer have been published by The US Preventive Services Task Force and these guidelines also discuss the recommendations for screening models such as tests for human papilloma virus and cytology.

6.) What Diagnostic Studies were Performed on the Patient?

Why is this important? The initial screening test used for the diagnosis of cervical cancer is the Papanicolaou test most commonly known as the Pap Smear or Pap Test.

7.) What were the Patient's Results of the Pap Smear Test and the Human Papilloma Virus Infection Test?

Why is this important? In women who have symptoms of cervical cancer, the Papanicolaou smear test is used as a diagnostic test since a positive result, for example, will identify a patient who harbors DNA from one or more of the HPV subtypes in the testing panel and are, therefore, at a greater risk for cervical cancer. A negative result, on the other hand, will identify a patient who has a lower risk of cervical cancer.

8.) Was the Patient Advised to get Follow-Up Evaluations?

Why is this important? It is necessary for the patient to have follow-up evaluations that are routine to detect and offset any complications that may come up. These follow-up routine check-ups and exams will insure that any changes are remedied and assessed in a timely manner.

9.) What was the Diagnosis of the Patient when the Patient was Discharged; for example, was the diagnosis of cervicitis, vaginal cancer, pelvic inflammatory disease, endometrial carcinoma, or the like that was different than a Diagnosis of Cervical Cancer?

Why is this important? A differential diagnoses of cervical cancer such as those listed in the question herein above may also result in heavy or irregular vaginal discharge, bleeding, or cervicallesion.

10.) Was it Recommended that the Patient Follow-Up with Pap Smear and Human Papilloma Virus Infection Tests?

Why is this important? As discussed herein above, the initial screening for the diagnosis of cervical cancer is the Pap Smear, or Pap Test. Since it is very closely associated with cervical cancer, the Human Papillomaviral Infection test is also recommended.

11.) Which Specialists was the Patient Referred to for Follow-Up?

Why is this important? For a continuing management and plan of treatment, a patient must see a gynecologic oncologist after the confirmation of the diagnosis of cervical carcinoma.

12.) Was it Recommended that the Patient Receive a Colposcopy?

Why is this important? When a Pap Smear, or Pap Test, is not normal, then a Colposcopy test is performed.

13.) Did the Patient Receive a Cervical Intra-Epithelial Neoplasia Grading of the Lesion?

Why is this important? Cervical intra-epithelial neoplasia (CIN) is a condition that is pre-cancerous and, if treated effectively, can prevent invasive cervical cancer. Therefore, an important, if not critical, part of prevention of cervical cancer is the appropriate management of women with cervical intra-epithelial neoplasia (CIN).

14.) Did the Patient Receive a Biopsy of the Lesion?

Why is this important? A biopsy is the only way to confirm the diagnosis of cervical cancer.

15.) If a Biopsy was Performed, then What was the Result?

Why is this important? As stated herein above, if the biopsy is positive, then the patient must be referred to a gynecologic oncologist for further treatment.

At Julie A. Rice, Attorney at Law, & Affiliates, we are experts at representing women who have been misdiagnosed or mistreated for cervical cancer. If you or a loved one have been misdiagnosed or mistreated for cervical cancer, then it is important that you Contact Us as soon as possible for your free legal consultation.

These cases are very time sensitive so it is important to seek legal counsel in a timely manner, and we look forward to hearing from you soon.

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