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$5.36 Million Malpractice Suit Awarded to Family of Cancer Victim

On behalf of Brown & Crouppen, P.C. posted in Medical Malpractice on Friday, June 29, 2012

A 69-year-old man died of colon cancer in December of last year, after going through four years of grueling and expensive chemotherapy. The man’s suffering and death were caused by his regular physician, his surviving family said in a medical malpractice lawsuit, by his repeatedly neglecting to carry out the full cancer screening from 1992 until 2008. Such a screening is highly recommended for patients over the age of 50 by the standards set forth by leading national health organizations.

A jury readily agreed with the family, awarding them $5.36 million in damages for the failure to diagnose the cancer until 2008.

The large award reflects the jury’s outrage at the doctor’s cavalier attitude, which allowed the cancer to fester and grow until the death of the patient was the outcome. While the award is intended to pay medical expenses and provide some compensation for the excruciating suffering the decedent suffered, nothing can ever adequately compensate his family for their lost loved one.

The doctor also neglected to order a colonoscopy even when his patient reported rectal bleeding, which can be a symptom indicating colon cancer. This was not a one-time mistake, as the patient reported such symptoms multiple times. While the doctor did some limited colon cancer screening, he did not follow established guidelines mandating full blown colon cancer screening once a patient reaches the age of 50 and annually thereafter.

The patient took the doctor’s word for it that he was being adequately screened for colon cancer, only to later learn, when it was already too late, that this was not really the case. The jury was able to hear, despite his death, the patient’s recorded testimony which served as a stinging indictment of the doctor’s unacceptable conduct.

Source: LegalTimes, “D.C. Jury Awards $5M for Failure to Screen for Cancer,” Zoe Tillman, June 25, 2012

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