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Failure to Diagnose Cancer Early

Here is a scenario where the doctor has failed to diagnose lung cancer in a timely manner. After filing a medical malpractice case, the plaintiff's lawyer has a chance to question the doctor during a pre-trail question and answer session known as a deposition. The lawyer will try to focus on key areas by asking how the treatment would have been different if the lung cancer was diagnosed earlier in time.

Typical Questions Asked by the Patient's Attorney during Deposition

The questions asked by the plaintiff's lawyer would be:

· Doctor at this point in time has my client been diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic lung cancer

· Is this cancer the most severe type of advanced lung cancer?

· Does it mean the cancer has spread beyond the lungs and the prognosis is very dim?

· Isn't it true my client has very limited life expectancy?

· If my client had been diagnosed earlier when his cancer was stage one, wouldn't you agree that his prognosis would have been significantly better than what it is now.

· Isn't it true doctor that for level one cancer there are different treatment option or modalities that can be used for treating the patient and for eliminating the cancer?

· Isn't one of the treatment options, surgical excision where the cancerous area is removed from the body

· Isn't it true that in stage one cancer, the affected area is typically localized to a part of the lung?

· Isn't it true that when the patient is treated during stage one, there is much better prognosis compared to a patient diagnosed with stage 3 or 4.

· Isn't it also true that a patient diagnosed with stage one lung cancer will not need chemotherapy for treating the condition, and a surgical removal would usually suffice?

Doctor's Pre-Trial Testimony can be Presented before the Jury

The doctor now will most probably start arguing about the different types of cancers, and the necessity of chemotherapy or radiation therapy. However, the bottom line is the plaintiff's lawyer will ask the doctor key questions about how the treatment would be different if the cancer was diagnosed earlier. This information is important because the plaintiff's lawyer can show it to the jury later on during the trial.

The lawyer can tell the jury that the doctor had agreed during deposition that if the cancer was diagnosed earlier during stage one, the treatment would have been very different, and the prognosis would have been much brighter. In fact, the patient would not even have to undergo chemotherapy or radiation therapy, which has severe side effects. A surgical procedure could have removed the cancerous part of the lung, and the patient would have been cured of the cancer.

The plaintiff's lawyer will devise a questioning strategy for deposition where he will get the doctor to agree about better prognosis and different treatment if the cancer was diagnosed early. The doctor will have no other option but to agree with the lawyer and this testimony is vital to present to the jury later during the trial.

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