<- Home <- Arhive <- Vol. 30, Issue 4, December 2022



Rom J Leg Med30(4)289-292(2022)
DOI:10.4323/rjlm.2022.289
© Romanian Society of Legal Medicine


MEDICO-LEGAL AND MALPRACTICE ISSUES FOR THE SURGICAL ONCOLOGY DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

B. Mastalier, A. M. Lazar, B. Ghiţă, M. Petruţescu, C. Botezatu


Abstract: As the world had no previous experience to a health crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the initial decisions that were taken at the start of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic appear now questionable. The surgical oncology represents a delicate field, as it is not necessarily an emergency, but however it requires a prompt management. The COVID-19 –related decisions have forced a very difficult to achieve balance between the protection of the cancer patients against SARS- CoV-2 infection and their timely treatment. However, during the pandemic, the screening program and the diagnostic procedures were delayed or even canceled, generating an important number of cases of missed cancer diagnostic. Also, the postponing or even interdiction in some states of the elective surgery for the non-complicated oncological cases resulted in a significant loss of life-years and even lost lives. At the same time, the delayed presentation of the oncological patients with complicated, acute forms of disease associated increased morbidity and mortality rates that could have been avoided with timely surgical treatment. Additionally, the pandemic-related measures caused a significant backlog of cancer cases to be treated after the end of the pandemic, which will require many months or even years to be solved. In such a context, the surgeons could face many malpractice claims, for many years, as the patients’ relatives have neither understood, nor accepted the surgeons’’ limitations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, surgical oncology, lost years, lost lives, emergency surgery, elective surgery, malpractice claims, delayed treatment.



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