Pathology is a field of medicine that concentrates on the causes and effects of diseases. As a patient, you may or may not have direct interaction with a pathologist, but they can be extremely important when diagnosing the source of your symptoms. While pathologists can serve as a vital part of the diagnosis and treatment process, especially when dealing with worrisome symptoms, their mistakes can also mean the difference between life and death. Let’s take a look at the field of pathology and what happens when a pathologist is the source of medical malpractice.
What is Pathology?
Pathology is a medical specialty that uses science and specifically, laboratory examination of blood and tissue samples, to diagnose illnesses and diseases. A pathologist is a doctor who practices pathology, meaning he or she studies samples in the lab and draws conclusions about possible medical conditions that may be affecting the overall health of the patient. When you seek help from your primary care doctor, they may consult a pathologist after ordering a test to determine the right diagnosis.
Pathologists examine specimens under microscopes. For example, they may perform an examination of urine, a collection of cells, a piece of tissue, or a sample of blood. Some of the common tests that are interpreted by pathologists include:
- Blood tests
- Pap smears
The Pathologist’s Role in Diagnosis and Treatment
Once the pathologist completes their examination, they will create a pathology report. The pathology report contains the diagnosis and additional information about the specimen that is typically only visible when magnified exponentially under a microscope or tested in a lab. Your doctor will then consult the pathologist for their expert opinion/diagnosis. This is obviously a critical step when determining the appropriate treatment plan.
Here’s a situation that exemplifies the pathologist’s role in the diagnostic and treatment process. You feel a lump in your breast and consult your doctor. He orders a mammogram and discovers a mass that may or may not be cancerous. The next step is a biopsy of the cells in your breast lump. The pathologist is vital here, as he or she helps to determine the presence of cancer in your body, the extent of the cancer, and what needs to be done to treat it. For instance, you may need surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or some other form of treatment to address this possibly life-threatening health crisis.
If the pathologist fails to diagnose cancer, misses a tumor, or misdiagnoses a mass as benign, cancer can quickly progress to its later stages where treatment is less effective. Any type of cancer can be missed or misdiagnosed, including cancer in your lungs, a collection of malignant skin cells, cancer affecting your prostate, uterine or endometrial cancer, or colon cancer. Pathologists frequently misdiagnose other medical conditions as well, including blood disorders and chronic diseases that may lead to serious complications if left untreateded.
Pathologist Malpractice Attorneys in New Jersey
Unfortunately, pathologists make mistakes with potentially catastrophic consequences. When pathologists misread lab results or other pathology errors occur, patients are often left to suffer the crippling results. If you or someone you love experienced health issues as a result of pathologist negligence, it is important to understand the legal avenues that may be available to you. Perhaps you’re unsure if your pathologist made a mistake, but you believe a missed or delayed diagnosis caused harm for you or a family member. In either case, the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Fronzuto Law Group can provide you with much-needed legal assistance.
Our lawyers concentrate on malpractice in the field of medicine in order to provide the best possible representation for New Jersey victims and their families. We will investigate the circumstances of your specific case to identify negligence on the part of a pathologist or another medical professional involved in your care. If you enlist our help, we work with renowned medical experts across specialties to determine liability and present the strongest case for the compensation you deserve. For additional information and to speak with a knowledgeable New Jersey pathologist malpratice attorney at our firm today, contact us at 973-435-4551. We will review your case free of charge, so don’t hesitate to reach out for answers.