The family of a New York woman who died of a breast tumor in 2004 has been awarded more than $9 million in a medical malpractice case. The jury found that a surgeon failed to properly diagnose the mother of two, allowing her breast tumor to grow and kill her. A copy of the article regarding the case can be found here.
I have successfully handled a number of medical malpractice / medical negligence / medical error cases in Baltimore and other counties in Maryland involving a failure to timely diagnose and treat breast cancer and other cancers. Some of the cases I have handled involved a failure to properly read mammograms (negligent reading of mammograms). Other cases have involved a failure to properly read pathology such as tissue samples on slides from a biopsy.
I have even handled a case involving negligent failure to properly treat cancer, in a medical malpractice case against Kaiser. In that particular case, a woman (who happened to be a judge) was properly diagnosed with lymphoma. She eventually started chemotherapy, which lowered the ability of her immune system to fight infection. After the chemo, but while her immune system still was weakened, she developed a rash from her chemotherapy, for which her doctor negligently prescribed steroids. The problem with prescribing the steroids was that steroids tend to further reduce the immune system’s ability to fight infection and, because they act as strong anti-inflammatories, they reduce fever and make you feel better when you are sick, thereby masking infection. Unfortunately, no one ever told this to the patient, so she did not take precautions against infection (which she had been doing while on chemo). Not surprisingly, she developed an infection and never knew it. Her blood work showed it, but the doctor did not tell her about it. Sadly, one night, she became overwhelmed with meningitis and died before being able to summon help. The jury in that case awarded $2.5M to the woman’s estate and her son.