Pathologists are doctors who study the cause and development of disease. These medical professionals play a vital role in a patient’s care. In fact, treatment decisions are often made solely on the opinion of a pathologist. If you have been hurt due to a pathologist’s error, you may be qualified to recover damages for your harm through a medical malpractice lawsuit. At Arfaa Law Group, our diligent Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers are committed to investigating your case and helping you figure out your next steps.
An Iowa man recently won a medical malpractice case for undergoing debilitating prostate cancer surgery and then learned that he did not have cancer. Apparently, a pathologist mixed up slides of the plaintiff with another man who, in fact, did have prostate cancer. The error led to an incorrect diagnosis, and ultimately unnecessary prostate gland removal surgery in April 2017. The procedure was not only painful; it seriously damaged nearby nerves and left the plaintiff impotent and incontinent. His quality of life has been severely affected due to both of these conditions. While the hospital admitted that unnecessary surgery had taken place, the main issue at trial was over the question of damages. Ultimately, the plaintiff was awarded $12.25 million.
While this is an Iowa case, the sad reality is that pathology errors leading to devastating consequences happen everywhere and Maryland is no exception. Pathologists study and diagnose diseases through examining surgically removed organs, tissues (biopsy samples), bodily fluids, and in some cases the entire body (autopsy). This is done through examining tissue samples and cells in body fluids under the microscope and making a determination based on those observations. A pathologist error could have one of two consequences: it could lead to a delay in treatment or lead to unnecessary treatment. The latter is what happened in the aforementioned Iowa case. The pathologist correctly identified prostate cancer based on the slide but mixed up patient files, which led to diagnosing the wrong patient.
If you have been injured by a pathology error, you may be able to sue for medical malpractice. In Maryland, medical malpractice takes place when a healthcare provider breaches the standard of care in diagnosing or treating the patient. The standard of care refers to the level of skill, knowledge and care ordinarily required of members of the medical professional’s specialty. In addition to showing that the healthcare provider breached the standard of care, you are also required to establish that this breach was a direct cause of your injury. In other words, the substandard care was a direct cause of the harm suffered. Only after malpractice is established can any compensation be recovered.
If you have been injured and believe it was because of a faulty diagnosis caused by a pathologist’s error, you need to reach out to a seasoned Baltimore medical malpractice attorney immediately. At Arfaa Law Group, we will examine the details of your case and help you determine your legal options. For more information, call us today at 410-889-1850 or contact us online.