November 21, 2011, ERIE, PA — I recently posted an article in our Pennsylvania medical malpractice library about an Erie man who was told by more than one Erie doctor that a mouth sore was nothing to be concerned about but who learned when he saw an out of town specialist that he had oral cancer. You can read the whole story HERE but my website people tell me that my articles are way too long so I thought I’d post this blog to give you the gist of it…which I just did in my opening sentence, thank you very much.
Now let me rant a little bit. Based on my experience as an Erie medical malpractice lawyer, I think Erie doctors tend to assume that the most probable diagnosis is what the patient has, even when there is a less likely but urgently dangerous possibility that requires prompt care. That is, by definition, sub-standard care and when it causes harm the patient should sue and recover damages.
Sure, you say. The Pennsylvania medical mistake lawyer wants us to sue. I wonder why. That’s how he makes his living.
True enough. But here’s the thing: I keep seeing the same behavior among Erie physicians despite the fact that they are trained to identify and rule out urgently dangerous conditions before assuming that the condition is not lethal. Obviously, training and knowledge are not enough to cause some of these Erie doctors to do what they are supposed to do and the only mechanism we have, as a society, to effect change in the delivery of medical services is the malpractice suit.
Why do Erie doctors persist in assuming the best? I don’t know. I imagine the motives are as varied as the doctors involved. Perhaps the physician doesn’t like giving a patient bad news, particularly if the condition might be nothing. Perhaps the physician is lazy or inattentive. Perhaps the doctor has seen the same thing a hundred times and it’s never been a problem before. I don’t know why, exactly, Erie doctors keep missing diagnoses of dangerous conditions like cancer but I know that they keep missing conditions that other doctors catch and I know something should be done to change the pattern.
The only thing I know to do, aside from my rants here, is encourage people who have been harmed by a medical mistake like cancer misdiagnosis to see a Pennsylvania medical mistake attorney.
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