No Successful Malpractice Case Tied to Active Surveillance of Cancer

Five cases brought from 1990 to 2022, but all were ruled as following appropriate standard of care
No Successful Malpractice Case Tied to Active Surveillance of Cancer
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TUESDAY, April 2, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- To date, there is no evidence of successful malpractice litigation for active surveillance (AS) in cancer, according to a study published in the April issue of the Annals of Surgery.

Samuel Chang, J.D., from Athene Law LLP in San Francisco, and colleagues characterized malpractice trends related to AS as a treatment strategy across cancers (thyroid cancer, prostate cancer, kidney cancer, breast cancer, or lymphoma). The analysis included AS-related malpractice cases identified from the Westlaw Edge and LexisNexis Advance databases (1990 to 2022).

The researchers identified five malpractice cases tied to AS, all involving prostate cancer. Two cases involved alleged deliberate indifference from an AS management strategy but were ruled as following the appropriate standard of care. Three cases with complications from surgery alleged physician negligence for not explicitly recommending AS as a treatment option. All cases showed documented informed consent for AS, leading to defense verdicts in favor of the physicians.

"Given the legal precedent detailed in the identified cases and increasing support across national guidelines, active surveillance represents a sound management option in appropriate low-risk cancers, with no increased risk of medicolegal exposure," the authors write.

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