Lee S. Goldsmith, M.D., LLB
In an earlier blog, I had mentioned the two types of cases that could potentially be brought on behalf of the patient who is diagnosed with late stage lung cancer. The fact that a patient has developed lung cancer may not be preventable; the fact that a patient that’s been diagnosed with late stage lung cancer is tragic, but is often avoidable and preventable.
One of my colleagues, Roy Konray, a Certified Civil Trial Attorney with offices in Clark, NJ, deserves mention. He has brought a case that falls into the first category.
Over the years, the manufacturers of cigarettes wanted to get consumers hooked on smoking and, in many instances, were able to do so. In the 1990’s, many states, including New Jersey, brought suit against the tobacco manufacturers and secured settlements that enabled the states to advertise the harms of smoking. In addition, health insurers required that physicians ask their patients about their smoking history and encourage them to stop smoking. Lung cancer is but one of many conditions that can be caused by smoking. Physicians like Claudia Henschke and David Yankelevitz from Mt. Sinai in New York performed research that showed that Cat Scan screening of long-term smokers would lead to early diagnosis and treatment, which often led to curing the condition.
However, it wasn’t until the last decade that the Federal Government indicated that long-term pack-a-day smokers should receive Cat Scans and that insurers should cover the costs. Many physicians were frustrated knowing that their colleagues were not sending the long-term smoking patients for screening. Meetings, papers and conferences have not been able to get physicians to refer patients. Sitting with a patient, discussing options and persuading patients to be screened takes time. Many physicians do not want to spend the time.
Attorneys like Roy Konray, who have brought litigation on behalf of clients who should have been screened and were not, will bring pressure on the lazy physicians who should be reviewing their patients’ smoking history and getting them screened. Lives will be saved when patients are screened.
Thank you, Roy.