Cancer Treatment Radiation Damage: Medical Malpractice?


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People who are undergoing cancer treatments may lament that the treatment and cure seem almost as bad as the disease. Both radiation and chemotherapy can have a host of unpleasant side effects, ranging from vomiting and nausea and loss of appetite to radiation burns and other serious issues. You are already going through a lot, so when radiation damage occurs and you believe it was caused by negligence on the part of your physicians or caregivers, it can be especially traumatic. So, what rights do you have as a cancer patient to recover for radiation damage?

Recovering for Radiation Damage

If you believe that your doctor or caregivers did something wrong, and that this mistake led to radiation damage, then you may have a case for medical malpractice on your hands. Medical malpractice is the type of lawsuit that patients use to get damages from doctors who hurt them- it is a form of personal injury or tort lawsuit. In order to recover your damages and win a medical malpractice lawsuit, there are several things you must prove:

  • If you are suing a doctor, you must prove that your physician acted with a standard of care below the standard of care a reasonable doctor would have used in treating you. In other words, if your doctor was less careful than a reasonable doctor in his position would have been in, and you can prove it, you will meet this element of your case.
  • If you are suing a hospital, you must prove that they had a lapse in some way that resulted in the hospital providing care below that which a reasonable hospital would have provided. For example, if the hospital wasn't careful in hiring people to administer radiation, and a reasonable hospital would have been more prudent, the hospital may be in charge.

Proving Causation for Radiation Damage

You also must prove that the doctor or hospitals breach of care, or negligence, actually caused your injuries. In other words, you have to show that the radiation damage you suffered wasn't just a normal side effect of radiation or just something that happened to you during the course of your treatment- it must have been caused directly by the negligence or breach of care.

Getting Help

Proving medical malpractice can be hard, since most juries don't know what a reasonable doctor or hospital would do. Often, you need to collect a great deal of medical evidence and you need to hire experts to testify on your behalf. All of this means it is a very good idea for you to hire an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Your attorney can help you get the evidence you need so you can build your case and successfully recover for radiation damages.

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