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Vol 16, No 1 (2014)
Case reports
Published online: 2014-11-13

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Physician’s legal liability for not sending removed skin tumor to pathological examination — case presentation and legal analysis of the situation

Konrad Wroński, Kamil Frąckowiak, Leszek Frąckowiak
Chirurgia Polska 2014;16(1):49-55.


In the twenty-first century, patient’s rights are an integral part and concretization of broader human rights. Around the world those rights arise from a common characteristic of the twenty-first century sense of violating subjective rights and dignity of the human person. Instruments recorded in national and international legislation protect the patient against medical services that do not meet current medical knowledge. National legislation imposes an obligation on the physician to provide medical services corresponding to current medical knowledge and perform their work with due diligence. It is now one of the most important rights of the patient, which is often not observed by medical personnel.

The authors of this article present the case of a 50-year-old patient in whom the surgeon excising skin lesion failed to send the excited material for routine pathological examination. After 22 months patient had melanoma metastatic lymph node in the axilla. Failure to transfer the tumor excised for microscopic examination is a mistake in the art of medicine and the diagnosis is often delayed until effective treatment of neoplasm disease is no longer possible. In this article the authors present the legal consequences that may threaten a physician who does not send excised skin lesion for routine pathological examination.

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