According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. In the last century and this, medicine has made tremendous progress in cancer research and diagnosis. However, despite state-of-the-art technology available to detect cancer, any Philadelphia medication errors lawyer will agree that medical professionals routinely misread X-rays and other scans. This may lead to a worsened condition in a patient and potentially result in the spread of disease to other organs.
In fact, our Pennsylvania residents may find it interesting to learn that a jury recently awarded nearly $17 million in damages to the daughter of woman who passed away in 2008 after a doctor failed to detect her lung cancer. According to the lawsuit, the deceased woman reported to an ER in 2006 after suffering a relentless cough. Based on the symptoms, the doctor allegedly ordered a chest X-ray to determine the cause of the cough. However, the doctor noted that the X-ray was normal; the woman was given antibiotics and sent on her way.
However, nearly a year later, she reported back to the hospital after her condition became worse. Another doctor ordered a CT scan. This scan showed evidence of advanced lung cancer and, sadly, several months following the diagnosis, the disease had spread to other organs, including the kidney, liver and spine. Shortly thereafter, the woman passed away at the age of 47.
The daughter filed a lawsuit on behalf of her mother, claiming that the original 2006 X-ray showed evidence of a nodule, which had increased in size in a subsequent scan. Furthermore, several new nodules were also present in the scan that occurred a year later. Thus, the daughter alleged in her lawsuit that the radiologist failed to recognize or see evidence of cancer in the chest X-ray.
The doctor, on the other hand, indicated in his response to the lawsuit that the X-ray is not an appropriate tool to diagnose lung cancer and that the patient failed to give him her complete medical history, including information that the woman’s mother had had lung cancer and that she had nearly a three-decades-long history of smoking. Despite the doctor’s response, a jury sided with daughter of the woman who lost her life because the doctor failed to detect cancer and awarded her almost $17 million.
Losing a loved one due to the negligence of a healthcare provider is difficult. It is important in most cases for a medical malpractice attorney to examine the facts, review documents and seek an expert opinion to determine if one has a valid medical malpractice lawsuit against a doctor and/or hospital.
Source: The Boston Globe, “$16.7 million award in cancer lawsuit,” Yasmeen Abutaleb, June 30, 2014