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Medical Ethics/Unneccessary lymph node removal

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Question
Hello, could you please tell me if it is ethical for a surgeon to remove 13 lymph nodes for a breast cancer which was invasive by 1mm?

This happened five years ago, I now have grade 2 secondary arm lymphadema.

Thank you.

Answer
Hazel,

The question is not whether it was ethical but did it comply with the standard of care.  I am not an oncologist or surgeon, however, it is completely ethical and within the standard of care to remove nodes if there is a possibility of cancer.  Your breast cancer was beyond the margin and it is common to remove the lymph nodes in that situation.  Unfortunately, Lymphedema is a known risk but it is better than dying from the cancer.

Very truly yours,

Paul D. Friedman, M.A., Ph.D., J.D.

Medical Ethics

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Paul D. Friedman, M.A., Ph.D., J.D.

Expertise

In addition to my law degree, I have a master's degree in bioethics and a doctorate of philosophy involving comparative medical, legal and business ethics. I am an adjunct professor at a medical school teaching ethics to healthcare professionals and graduate students.

I can answer questions dealing with general ethics principles, including medical ethics, research ethics and bioethics. I am not a moralist and do not interject subjective values such as what is morally right and wrong. Also, I do not give legal advice over the internet.

For more information, you can view my webiste at WWW.EXPERTETHICS.COM

Experience

I have been a civil trial attorney since 1989 with a masters degree in bioethics and a doctorate of philosophy involving comparative ethics.

Organizations
State Bar of Arizona
State Bar of Colorado (inactive)
District of Columbia Bar (inactive)
Federal Bar
Licensed in the Arizona District Court
Licensed in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
licensed in the United States Supreme Court
American Bar Association
American Association for Justice
Arizona Trial Lawyers Association
American Society for Bioethics and Humanities
Kennedy Institute of Ethics


Publications
A list of my copyrighted publications and presentations is contained at WWW.EXPERTETHICS.COM

Education/Credentials
Bachelor of Arts 1985
Juris Doctorate 1989
Master of Arts in Bioethics 2004
Doctorate in Philosophy 2006

Awards and Honors
Phi Beta Kappa
Multiple Who's Who
Outstanding Achievement Award in Bioethics from Midwestern University

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