We are all aware that when a surgeon considers whether or not to perform surgery, he or she will typically look at the risks and the associated benefits of having a particular procedure. Age is one of the factors that typically comes into play when making a decision about the risks involved. There is no question that general anesthesia can be dangerous for elderly patients, and this will cause doctors to avoid performing many types of surgeries that cannot be done with local anesthesia.
Patients with malignant mesothelioma, especially malignant pleural mesothelioma (involving the lungs) will typically need to undergo major surgery in addition to having chemotherapy and/or radiation. Many patients will need to have a major section of the lungs removed and then have a heated dose of chemotherapy drugs applied internally directly to the place where the tumor was removed. This is about as major a surgery as there is and there is no realistic way to do this while a patient is under a local anesthesia drug.
While such a surgery might not typically be done on an elderly patient, a recent article from Healio states that age alone should not be a reason to avoid this type of surgery. This is largely due to the very aggressive nature of pleural malignant mesothelioma and the amount of extreme pain and suffering associated with the disease.
However, this does not mean that every elderly malignant pleural mesothelioma patient is ready to go into surgery right away. Doctors believe that the proper course of action is to perform a detailed pre-surgical assessment of the mesothelioma and the overall health and fitness of the elderly patient aside from having the tumor and associated health condition.
As our Boston mesothelioma injury attorneys have seen in far too many cases, the pain and suffering associated with this horrific disease is almost unbearable to patients and their families. However, this is the reason that juries are often willing to provide higher compensatory damages to make sure the family receives a full and appropriate compensation for the catastrophic damages often associated with pleural malignant mesothelioma. In some cases, there are also punitive damages available. These are damages that are awarded in addition the compensatory damages that the standard measure of damages in a personal injury lawsuit. Punitive damages, as the name implies, are designed to punish a defendant, and to send a message that this type of wilful and wanton disregard to the safety of others will not be tolerated in our society. However, these damages are not available in every case as the fact are never the same. You should speak with your experienced personal injury lawsuit about the facts relevant to your actual situation.
It should also be noted that age alone should not prevent anyone who is suffering from pleural malignant mesothelioma from having surgery; however, there must be a much more rigorous look at the risks and benefits associated with a typical procedure than in a younger patient.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
Additional Resources:Age should not preclude patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma from surgery, April 25, 2016, Healio
More Blog Entries:
A Look at How Military Veterans with Mesothelioma are Treated, March 28, 2016, Mesothelioma Lawyer Boston