Cancer treatment is uncomfortable and stressful under the best of circumstances. Discovering that you may have been the victim of medical malpractice only adds to the trauma. If chemotherapy or radiation errors have significantly worsened your condition or resulted in the death of your loved one, Gray & White Law will fight for your right to compensation.
Understanding Cancer Treatment Options
Chemotherapy is a general term that refers to the use of one or more anti-cancer drugs. It’s most often given with curative intent, but palliative chemotherapy can be used to prolong life or reduce symptoms when a patient’s cancer is too advanced for a cure. Depending upon the type of drug being used, chemotherapy can be administered as a shot, pill, cream, IV, or liquid. It can be given on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
Radiation therapy uses external beam or internal radiation to kill cancer cells. Patients often receive radiation after surgery to remove a cancerous mass. However, it can also be used to provide pain relief in advanced cancer cases. Radiation does not kill cancer cells immediately. It can take days or even weeks of treatment to see results, but the cancer cells will continue to die for weeks or months after treatment ends.
Medical malpractice related to cancer treatment is particularly dangerous because patients are already very ill and struggling with a weakened immune system. Mistakes such as a chemo overdose or wrong site radiation carry a real risk of death or permanent disability, in addition to wasting valuable time that could have been used to administer the correct medical care.
Establishing a Claim for Malpractice After a Chemo or Radiation Error Causes a Serious Injury
To have a valid medical malpractice claim, you must be able to prove that you suffered harm due to your care provider’s conduct. This is difficult in cases involving cancer treatment since chemotherapy and radiation are inherently destructive to the body. Hair loss, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and problems swallowing are all well-known side effects. Additionally, a poor outcome isn’t necessarily a sign of malpractice. Chemotherapy and radiation don’t work for everyone, especially when the cancer is diagnosed at a more advanced stage.
Malpractice cases require a deviation from the standard of care. The standard of care refers to the diagnostic and treatment process a reasonable and prudent provider should follow given the patient’s current symptoms. Some specific behaviors that might be the basis of a cancer treatment malpractice claim include:
- Receiving an overdose of chemotherapy due to provider error
- Requiring a chemotherapy antidote, such as uridine triacetate (Vistogard), due to a 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) overdose
- Receiving an incorrect dose of chemotherapy due to a malfunction in the implanted pump used for intra-arterial chemo treatments
- Receiving the wrong chemotherapy drug
- Receiving radiation on the wrong part of the body (wrong-site radiation) due to an incorrectly inserted catheter directing the radioactive material to a healthy area of the body
- Receiving radiation that is too strong
- Failing to monitor your progress after cancer treatment
- Failing to properly notify you of the risks and benefits of a specific cancer treatment
A doctor with specialized experience treating your type of cancer will need to evaluate your medical records to determine if you received treatment that deviated from the standard of care for your condition. At Gray & White Law, we have access to an extensive network of expert witnesses who can assist in your malpractice case.
Determining the party who is liable for your damages can be tricky. It could be the doctor, the pharmacy, the cancer treatment clinic, or the nurse who administered the medication. In some cases, the drug manufacturer could be liable as well. Conducting a thorough investigation is a vital part of preparing your case.
Available Compensation for Chemotherapy and Radiation Injuries
A medical malpractice case requests monetary compensation for the harm you’ve suffered as a result of the error in your cancer treatment. For example:
- Medical expenses related to the malpractice
- Any future care you will need as the result of the malpractice
- Lost wages due to the malpractice
- Applicable loss of future earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium (the family’s relationship with the malpractice victim)
Punitive damages are awarded only in cases of egregious conduct. These damages are intended to punish the defendant and deter future wrongdoing.
If someone dies as the result of malpractice related to cancer treatment, this is referred to as wrongful death. The damages in this type of case include those listed above, as well as funeral and burial costs. The personal representative of the deceased person’s estate brings the claim on behalf of the surviving spouse, children, or other heirs.
Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim for Chemotherapy Overdose and Radiation Injuries in Kentucky
Kentucky’s statute of limitations requires you to file a medical malpractice claim within one year of the date of the act that resulted in injury. If the injury was not immediately discovered, you have one year from the date the injury was discovered or should have reasonably been discovered. If you attempt to file a claim outside the statute of limitations, your case will be dismissed.
Doctors and other healthcare professionals have access to a team of top-notch lawyers to defend against malpractice charges. Enlisting the help of the experienced Kentucky medical malpractice attorneys at Gray & White Law is the best way to ensure you have someone who can advocate for your interests. As a medical malpractice victim, you deserve justice and compensation for your suffering.
Please call Gray and White Law at 888-450-4456 to schedule a consultation to discuss your legal options. There’s no cost or obligation associated with this case review.