Gastroenterology experts testify on the standard of care arising from alleged misdiagnosis or injuries due to treatment. These medical experts consult on the missed diagnosis of gastrointestinal cancer as well as complications following GI surgery. In the U.S., colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed among men and women and the second leading cause of death from cancer. Colon cancer can often be prevented with a colonoscopy. This procedure finds and treats colon cancer by detecting and removing adenomatous polyps. According to the American Gastroenterological Association:
Most colorectal cancers come from precancerous polyps — adenomatous polyps or serrated polyps — that form over a number of years (five to 10) to become a cancer.
A polyp is a mushroom-like or flat growth on the inside wall of the colon or rectum. Polyps grow slowly over many years.
Not all colon polyps have the same risk of turning into colon cancer. Precancerous polyps could become cancerous; other types of polyps (hyperplastic, inflammatory) do not.
If caught early before any symptoms arise, surgery can cure colorectal cancer. Finding colorectal cancer early leads to easier treatments and higher survival rates.
The practice of gastroenterology is complex. Medical malpractice claims may arise alleging a missed diagnosis of gastrointestinal cancer. Patients may also sue over complications such as bleeding, perforated colons, or infections. Dr. Douglas K. Rex, Director of Endoscopy, Indiana University Medical Center, writes: “When a patient develops colorectal cancer within a few years of a colonoscopy it sometimes results in a malpractice action against the doctor. This often results from an impression on the part of the patient, the patient’s attorney, and some expert witnesses that colonoscopy is a guarantee of protection against colorectal cancer.” Board certified gastroenterology experts are crucial to the legal team in medical negligence lawsuits of this nature. They are experienced in determining whether the medical standard of care was breached and resulted in harm to the plaintiff.