Course: Risk Management Consult: Failure to Diagnose Cancer, Second Edition
Author: Rosemary Gafner and James Schutte
AMA PRA Category 1 credits: 7
Estimated Hours to Complete Course: 6.00
Estimated Minutes to Complete Test: 60
Course Release Date: 12/1/2012
Course Expiration Date: 12/31/2021
How to minimize liability associated with failure to diagnose cancers.

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Risk Management Consult
Failure to Diagnose Cancer, Second Edition


It would be impossible to list every situation that might give rise to an avoidable claim alleging failure to diagnose cancer. Rather, our goal is to use case histories to illustrate how avoidable claims arise and the general principles that the courts use in determining whether or not the physician in question can be held liable for them. By understanding these general principles, you’ll be better able to recognize and avoid the kinds of lapses that give rise to avoidable diagnostic failure suits, then document your actions accordingly. As a result, your patients will be safer and you’ll be less likely to find yourself encumbered with a lawsuit.


Upon completion of this course, you should be able to:

1.  Establish a habit of orally reviewing with new patients any written medical history questionnaires or other documents they provide.
2.  Recognize the need to document normal as well as abnormal family histories.
3.  Describe the duties of a physician in both making a referral and in accepting one.
4.  Understand the importance of obtaining and reviewing the patient’s prior medical records..
5.  Routinely document your differential diagnosis.
6.  Take necessary steps to prevent positive test results from being filed away before they are brought to the physician’s attention.
7.  Know how to locate and use evidence-based protocols for screening and diagnosing cancers.

Target Audience
This course is appropriate for physicians of all specialties.


This is a self-study course consisting of text and CME test.  Physicians should read the course content, answer the test questions and submit the answers for scoring.  Those who complete the course with a score of 80 percent or higher will earn a maximum of 7 AMA PRA Category 1 creditsTM.


This course was developed by Rosemary Gafner, Ed.D. and James E. Schutte, Ph.D.  Their CVs are available at

CME Information

Medical Risk Management, Inc. is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing education for physicians.  Medical Risk Management, Inc. designates this enduring material for a maximum of 7 AMA PRA Category 1 creditsTM.  Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Estimated time to complete this activity:  7 hours.


Commercial Support

This activity was developed solely by Medical Risk Management, Inc. without any commercial support.


Neither Dr. Gafner nor Dr. Schutte have anything to disclose.

Please check with your insurance carrier for approved courses before registering.  Courses not approved by your insurance carrier will not be accepted by them for any discounts they may offer.