Lung cancer is a leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Diagnosing and treating lung cancer when the opportunity is first presented ― frequently an incidental pulmonary finding ― is key to managing the risk of malpractice lawsuits. Defendants in these medical liability claims generally include multiple members of the patient’s healthcare team. Ambiguity surrounding which physician is responsible for follow-up, workflow factors, and failure to close the communication loop are common themes in patient injury causation analysis. The medical liability risk reduction strategies introduced in this article aim to improve the communication of actionable pulmonary findings to achieve timely work-up and facilitate diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer at the earliest stage possible.
CASE ONE Radiologist Communication Failure
CASE TWO Work-up Failures
CASE THREE Inadequate Primary Care/Patient Communication Protocols