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A Journal on Forensic Medicine




Minerva Medicolegale 2011 March;131(1):13-9

language: Italian

The “cornerstone” of the supreme court on the criteria for compensation of injury occasioned by delayed / failed oncologic diagnosis

Scurria S., Gualniera P., Asmundo A.

Dipartimento di Medicina Legale e delle Assicurazioni, Università degli Studi di Messina, Messina, Italia


The authors analyze the issue of personal injury resulting from negligent delays in diagnosing oncological diseases; after the framing of case law which concern this aspect of professional liability, they analyze the principles of law introduced by the Court of Cassation’s sentence n. 23864 of 18 September 2008. In fact, the Supreme Court has considered detrimental not only the error that would result in a worsening prognosis quoad vitam but also the omission responsible for impeding palliative (medical) care or a more timely surgery. In this case has been admitted the biological damage ‑ as a loss of quality of life suffered from a late diagnosis of cancer, identified in suffering endured before a correct diagnosis and as a worsening of her general condition determining a more invasive surgery, as well as loss of the possibility of slowing the disease (“a few weeks or few months”) and the loss of chance ‑ as loss of possibility to live better during the progress of the disease and as possibility of living longer. The authors therefore underline that, according with this principles, it can be assumed to have a change in civil medico-legal evaluation giving full protection to oncological patient.

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