Sometimes, doctors catch diseases early on and save the life of their patients but tragically, the opposite happens and because of a doctor’s failure to diagnose, a patient suffers and tragically, dies. Recently, the widow of a man who died from liver cancer filed a lawsuit alleging that her husband would still be alive if his doctors hadn’t failed him.
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The lawsuit, which is filed against three separate physicians, alleged that in 2009, after having been diagnosed with cirrhosis and hepatitis C, the patient was instructed to have an ultrasound by both his primary physician and his gastroenterologist. He did so, and the results were sent to both of them, as well as a third physician who was treating him for anemia. Clearly written in the results was the recommendation from the radiologist who indicated that an MRI should be ordered, as it was a better way to detect if a patient had cancer of the liver.
Despite seeing each of the three doctors several times over the next years, none of them recommended an MRI.
In 2013, the doctors requested that he undergo a CT scan to determine if he had bleeding in his GI tract. He did so, and once again the results were sent to the physicians, along with a recommendation that the patient have an MRI. Again, all three doctor’s ignored the recommendation and none of them informed the patient that alternative testing was recommended.
In 2014, the patient continued to suffer from GI symptoms and was once again told to have an ultrasound performed. Although it was completed, as the previous results and new results concluded, MRI was a better alternative for confirming the presence of liver cancer. Just a few short months after his ultrasound, the patient was to the ER with extreme stomach pain. There, it was found that he had an ruptured liver mass, confirmed through an MRI. The mass had grown so large that it was determined he was not a good candidate for surgery. He only survived another month before passing away.
He was only 65 years old.
The widow of the patient filed her wrongful death lawsuit, which alleged that if the recommended MRI’s had been performed, the cancer would have been diagnosed earlier and her husband would have been able to undergo surgery.
The plaintiff and defendants were unable to reach a settlement and the case went to court where the defendants argued that the patient had “outlived his life expectancy” because he was already suffering from numerous other medical conditions and that an MRI would have don’t nothing to extend his life.
The jury did not agree with this argument and in a very short period of time found that all three defendants were negligent. The $6 million they awarded the plaintiff won’t bring her husband back, however, it may bring her some comfort and allow for a brighter future.
When a patient isn’t feeling well, they typically inform their doctor of all of their symptoms. Then, it is the doctor’s responsibility to determine what is causing those symptoms.
While it’s true that the same symptoms could be caused by many different diseases, there are ways to rule out which one are present and which aren’t. In order to rule something out, tests are often ordered, such a bloodwork, x-rays, ultrasounds, MRIs, CTs and sometimes, even exploratory surgery.
Unfortunately, doctors frequently fail to order the correct tests and misdiagnose their patients who are actually suffering from cancer. As if this misdiagnosis wasn’t enough, when cancer is left untreated, what once could have been easily removed will spread to other parts of the body, becoming deadly.
If you or a loved one were treated by a doctor who failed to determine that cancer was present, you may be owed significant compensation. Contact our experienced lawyers now to learn more.
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