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scottsdale • phoenix

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No recovery no fee


scottdale phoenix

se habla espanol

No recovery  •  no fee


Scottsdale  •  Phoenix

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Woman And Family Receive $3.7 Million For Delayed Cancer Diagnosis

When it comes to cancer, early detection is key. Prompt diagnosis and treatment can mean the difference between a curable cancer and a fatal one. In a recent medical malpractice case, a Maricopa County woman sued after doctors told her that a cancerous lesion was actually a benign cyst. By the time it was diagnosed, the cancer had spread.

The woman went to a colon and rectal surgeon for treatment of a rectovaginal lesion in 2007. She was referred to another doctor for additional treatment. In both cases, the medical providers told the woman she had a benign cyst. They did not perform a biopsy or provide other tests or treatment that could have determined whether the lesion was cancerous. In 2008, the woman received gynecological health care, including surgery, but the cancer was still not discovered.

Not until February 2011 did the woman learn that the lesion was cancer. By then, it had spread to other parts of her body. As a result of the delayed cancer diagnosis, her disease was at stage IV, which is the most serious stage, and she was likely to die as a result.

Lawsuit On Behalf Of Patient And Children

In October 2011, the woman filed a medical malpractice claim in Maricopa County District Court. She claimed that if the medical providers had properly diagnosed and treated her rectovaginal lesion, she would have a higher chance of recovery. But because she was not properly diagnosed, the woman’s chance of survival is significantly reduced. She was 34 when she filed the lawsuit.

As a result of the delayed diagnosis, both the woman and her children suffered significant harm. Among the damages, the woman alleged:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Disability
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

The lawsuit also contended that the woman’s children suffered from the loss of her companionship.

As a defense, the colon and rectal surgeon claimed that if he had done a biopsy, the specimen would probably have been too small to diagnose cancer. Ultimately, however, a jury sided with the woman, finding that the colon and rectal surgeon was 75 percent at fault. They awarded $1.7 million to the woman and $1 million to each of her children.

A Common Basis For Medical Malpractice Claims

Unfortunately, the woman’s case is not as unusual as it might seem. Misdiagnosis of cancer is a common basis for medical malpractice claims. According to CRICO, the medical professional liability company that serves the Harvard medical community, 26 percent of medical malpractice claims filed between 2005 and 2009 were for misdiagnosis. Of those misdiagnosis claims, more than half – 55 percent – were claims that a doctor or other medical professional misdiagnosed cancer.

Breast cancer, lung cancer and colon cancer are among the most commonly misdiagnosed cancers.

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