Breast Law Practices: From Malpractice To Social Media Oversight

Where boobs are involved, social stigma can be menacing. It’s perfectly legal to breastfeed in public in all fifty states, but there is still a strong distaste for it in some circles. As little sense as the stigma might make, it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. So where does that leave society? With a lot to learn, we think. Here are some of the best or “breast” law practices to avoid legal trouble.

Women have been trying to “free the nipple” for quite some time now, and nowhere is that campaign more evident that on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, where the female nipple is still forbidden. A new Facebook Oversight Board recently ruled that “nipple moderation” is a free speech issue (i.e. that female nipples have as much right to touch the open air as male nipples do).

One finding of Facebook’s own “Supreme Court” said that “The incorrect removal of [a Brazilian woman’s] post indicates the lack of proper human oversight which raises human rights concerns…As Facebook’s rules treat male and female nipples differently, using inaccurate automation to enforce these rules disproportionately affects women’s freedom of expression. Enforcement which relies solely on automation without adequate human oversight also interferes with freedom of expression.”

Granted, it leaves us wondering whether the court would rule differently if a human were the one deleting or restricting posts. The social media rules still indicate that female nipples must be covered or blurred. And even then, there are innumerable instances of posts being removed even though they did not break the rule.

Other legal issues abound. Breast cancer is now the most common form of cancer, which incidentally means it is often a focus of malpractice lawsuits.

A personal injury attorney is almost guaranteed to focus on one of these cases. And so the question arises: are they fair to the radiologists who must interpret whether or not a woman has breast cancer? An awe-inspiring fifty percent of radiologists who interpret these scans are under the legal malpractice knife by age 60. Are mistakes really so common, or are these scans simply difficult to interpret?

Michelle V. Lee works for Washington University’s Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology in St. Louis and has some insight: “Given a charged medicolegal climate, the high prevalence of breast cancer, the widespread public awareness of screening mammography, and confusion of lay people regarding the role and efficacy of screening mammography, a delay in breast cancer diagnosis is one of the most prevalent and expensive concerns resulting in malpractice lawsuits.”

According to the research Lee compiled, there are a number of reasons these lawsuits move forward: patients have unrealistic expectations, delay in diagnosis, and youth. This is part of the reason doctors place so much emphasis on managing expectations. It’s because younger people who don’t understand a diagnosis or its implications are more likely to sue. 

Lee’s team suggested that “Better understanding of factors and trends in malpractice litigation can lead to improvements in patient care, safety and satisfaction as well as betterment of the malpractice system.”