Esophageal cancer is a malignancy in your esophagus, and is often preceded by a condition called Barrett’s Esophagus. Esophageal Cancer Screenings can often cause serious complications. If you have symptoms but weren’t given screening by a medical professional you may be entitled to damages. Contact our Medical Malpractice Legal team to learn more. The symptoms of esophageal cancer include:
- Involuntary weight loss
- Increased heartburn and indigestion
- Dysphagia – difficult swallowing
- Burning, pain, or pressure in the chest
- Hoarseness and coughing
There are risks to esophageal cancer screening, so a doctor should carefully weigh the risks associated with testing against the likelihood that you have esophageal cancer. The risk factors for developing esophageal cancer include:
- Certain lifestyle choices – alcohol consumption, smoking, poor diet
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or other frequent reflux disorders
- Achalasia – esophageal sphincter won’t relax, causing difficulty swallowing
- Barrett’s Esophagus
- Radiation treatments
Study Indicates That Litigation for Esophageal Cancer Screening Malpractice is Rare
A study made by the University of Michigan indicates that the risk of a malpractice claim is low. This includes both cases of a failure to perform screening, and from complications related to the screening, among other reasons.
In the 28 year period that was studied (1985 – 2012), only 761 related malpractice claims were filed, 614 of these related to medical misadventure (as opposed to non-medical errors, such as breach of confidentiality).
268 of the claims involved malignancies. Half of the cases involving malignancies from 2002-2012 were for an alleged delay in diagnosing the disease.
Doctors Ordering Esophageal Cancer Screening Too Frequently
This study also indicates that too many esophagogastroduodenoscopies are being performed annually. Doctors are screening patients that present with chronic symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease, with no alarm symptoms, and no additional risk factors for esophageal cancer.
One of the reasons why a doctor might request such testing is out of fear that if they miss something, there may be a liability lawsuit. The chances of this are only about as likely as there being a lawsuit for complications due to the test itself, however, so doctors are warned to always weight the risks of testing with the risks of not testing, and opt for only testing those with more than one risk factor.
Contacting a Medical Malpractice Attorney after Unnecessary Screening
If you’ve had to pay for an unnecessary esophageal cancer screening procedure; if you’ve suffered from complications after such a test; or, If a doctor failed to send you for esophageal cancer screening, and your illness went undiagnosed, you may be eligible for damages, including lost wages, medical expenses, long term care, loss of future income, and emotional trauma.
Our team of medical malpractice attorneys will work together with specialists to determine if your doctor sent you for tests that they should have reasonably known not to send you for. If so, we will work to get you the compensation you deserve