The New York Times reports that the cancer unit of a Veterans Affairs hospital in New York made errors in 92 cancer treatments over more than six years with the federal government doing little or no regulating.
For patients with prostate cancer, it is a common surgical procedure: a doctor implants dozens of radioactive seeds to attack the disease. But when Dr. Gary D. Kao treated one patient at the veterans’ hospital in Philadelphia, his aim was more than a little off.
Most of the seeds, 40 in all, landed in the patient’s healthy bladder, not the prostate.
It was a serious mistake, and under federal rules, regulators investigated. But Dr. Kao, with their consent, made his mistake all but disappear.
This was just one of many patient horror stories. According to the newspaper, various agencies charged with regulating radiation treatments at Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Philadelphia never intervened to address what one agency called a lack of safety culture at the facility.
Stories like this debunk the myths propagated about medical malpractice and provide further evidence of the importance of the civil justice system in winning justice for victims of medical malpractice and negligence.