Cancer Sufferer is Awarded $1.5 Million over Hospital Misdiagnosis
Misdiagnosis is one of the biggest causes of medical malpractice lawsuits. In some cases a failure to diagnose or a misdiagnosis can leave a patient facing a death sentence.
In a recent case in Virginia, a woman whose metastatic cancer was originally diagnosed as non-invasive, has been awarded a $1.5 million settlement.
Virginia Lawyers Weekly reported on how the woman noticed a lump in her right breast in April, 2009. She did not wait to see her gynecologist, who referred her to a surgeon for evaluation.
A biopsy was carried out and there was a suspicious finding. The patient then underwent a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy. Virginia Lawyers Weekly reported that all five nodes were found to be cancer free. A pathologist diagnosed a non-invasive cancer that was curable.
The woman’s surgeon and oncologist recommended she undertake a brief course of radiation therapy and took Tamoxifen, which is a drug designed to prevent cancer cells being fueled by estrogen. “Everyone involved believed she had “pre-cancer” and would be fine.
More than three years later the woman received some devastating news. In December 2012, she detected an abnormal growth on her left chest wall. Doctors sampled the tissue and found an invasive ductal carcinoma. The report said they were “dumbfounded” as to how the non-invasive cancer had metastasized.
A second pathologist was called in and the original slides from 2009 were re-checked. Two of the 11 slides from 2009 showed the presence of an invasive ductal carcinoma, a diagnosis that was missed by the original pathologist.
The woman filed a medical malpractice lawsuit. She argued her chances of beating cancer would have been good if the correct diagnosis had been made in 2009 when she was aged 46. She now lives with incurable and inoperable metastatic cancer. The case was resolved by settlement in December 2014. The attorneys for the plaintiff were John Fletcher and Robert Moreland from Norfolk, Virginia. All cases are different and we cannot guarantee the same result in your case.
As medical malpractice attorneys in Hampton Roads, we are well aware of how devastating a misdiagnosis can be. When the mistake in question is a failure to diagnose cancer as invasive, it’s tantamount to a death sentence. Pathologists are highly trained and well paid professionals. Patients have a right to expect an accurate diagnosis from them. If you or a loved one has been misdiagnosed in a hospital with a serious implication for your health, call me at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers for a free consultation at 757.455.0077.