The medical malpractice attorneys of Passen & Powell have previously written on a recent study showing that young women being treated for cancer are frequently left without effective pre-treatment counseling about the possible effects of the treatments on their future fertility.
This is in direct violation of the guidelines of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. It is particularly egregious because, should a patient so choose, measures can be taken prior to treatment to ensure her future fertility, including freezing and preserving eggs or embryos.
Now, another new study has shown that it is women, in particular, who are denied this crucial pre-treatment counseling. Indeed, the results published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology showed that while 80 percent of male patient were told that their treatment could permanently affect their fertility, only 48 percent of female patients were given the same information.
Going further, the study found that only 14 percent of women were counseled about options for preserving their fertility, while 68 percent of men received such counseling. Half of all female cancer patients 40 and under, however, report when asked that they would like to have children at some point after treatment. There is thus a great need for pre-treatment counseling to ensure that patients fully understand the risks of treatment, and their options for managing them.
As our attorneys have previously stated, doctors must begin properly counseling all patients – but particularly young female patients – about the risks to fertility, and the options available. The failure to offer this counseling is the failure to obtain informed consent prior to treatments, a form of medical malpractice.
It is also completely unacceptable that physicians are providing one level of treatment, counseling, and service to male patients, while providing a markedly lower level of treatment, counseling and service to female patients. In any civilized society, professionals of all varieties must provide equal treatment to all citizens, regardless of gender, race, or class.
Whatever your gender, if you have lost fertility due to cancer treatments, and were not counseled prior to treatment about the risks and your options, talk to an experienced medical malpractice attorney about your legal options. It may be that the risk of legal liability will at last encourage physicians to properly inform cancer patients of their own risks.
For a free consultation with an experienced Chicago medical malpractice lawyer at Passen & Powell, call us at (312) 527-4500.