Recently, MedlinePlus reported on a study of the death rates following cancer surgery. The Harvard study looked at more than a million cancer patients undergoing surgery and found that nearly five percent died within one month of surgery.
The lead author noted that the study may be a wake-up call to healthcare providers and policy makers that disadvantaged groups are at a higher risk. The study found that patients with the highest risk following cancer surgery were those who were single, poor, without medical insurance, minorities, older, or with less education.
The study examined patients diagnosed with cancer between 2004 and 2011. Of the 1.1 million patients falling into this group, 53,500 were found to have died within one month of cancer surgery. The group included patients with cancer of the lung, breast, prostate, thyroid, pancreas, and kidney, along with melanoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and others. Nearly 40 percent of the patients studied were younger than 65 and not eligible for Medicare.
Although researchers did not have information regarding the causes of patients’ death, the lead researcher noted that death following surgery is an important measure of quality of care. The deputy chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, Dr. Leonard Lichtenfeld, commented that, although advanced cancer is the biggest risk factor, “the social and economic disparities need to be considered” and, the study “suggests…that quality of care is a factor in the outcomes of disadvantaged patients.”
The consequences of inferior medical care can be deadly. If you think you or someone close to you has been seriously harmed or has died as a result of substandard medical care, contact the medical malpractice lawyers of Lopez McHugh today for a free consultation. There is no cost or obligation for an initial consultation and our medical negligence lawyers can help to answer your questions about your legal options.