A Las Vegas jury has awarded a woman $1.5 million in a failure to diagnose cancer medical malpractice case. The woman, a 24-year-old mother, had found blood in her stool and kept having pain when she went to the bathroom. She went to local doctor who repeatedly told her that she was just suffering from hemorrhoids. Seven months after she visited the doctor, she was rushed to the emergency room because of major pain. Shortly after that, she was diagnosed with colon and rectal cancer. She died in 2007 at the age of 27.
A jury found that the doctor violated the standard of care and awarded the woman’s family $2.5 million. It is thought to be the largest medical malpractice verdict there since 2004.
The woman’s family argued that if she’d been properly diagnosed when she first visited the doctor, her chances of surviving the cancer would have been 97 percent, but because of the malpractice, her chances dropped to 50 percent by the time she was diagnosed. The family also claimed that the woman likely would be alive today if doctors had diagnosed her cancer earlier. Instead, before she died, the woman went through chemotherapy and major surgery, including the removal of her uterus and part of her lower intestines. A copy of an 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 colon and other cancers. Some of the cases I have handled involved a failure to properly perform colonoscopies. Other cases have involved a failure to properly read pathology, such as tissue samples on slides from a biopsy during a colonoscopy. These cases are always tragic, as colon cancer is a generally curable cancer if it is caught and treated early.