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Suit against Army Hospital for Failure to Diagnose Cancer Settled

On behalf of Brown & Crouppen, P.C. posted in Medical Malpractice on Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Missouri man who serves in the U.S. Army has settled his medical malpractice suit against the government over treatment his wife received at the hospital at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The man’s lawsuit alleged that his wife may have survived her bout with rectal cancer had doctors at the base hospital not failed to diagnose it in 2006.

The woman, who passed away in 2010 at age 53, was stationed at Fort Campbell with her husband, an Army staff sergeant, in 2006. She began suffering symptoms such as pain, constipation and blood in her stool, so she went to the base hospital for an examination. According to the lawsuit, a concerned bariatric surgeon recommended the woman undergo a colonoscopy, but the woman’s doctors never had that exploratory procedure performed or otherwise investigated the possibility of cancer. Instead, they told her she had hemorrhoids and sent her home.

The couple moved to Missouri in 2007 after the husband was reassigned to Fort Leonard Wood. Doctors at the new base soon diagnosed the rectal cancer. Tragically, by that time the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes. Despite chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgeries to remove cancerous organs, the woman was unable to beat the cancer.

By the time of her death, the couple had already filed a medical malpractice suit against the federal government. In an amended complaint, her husband said that “more likely than not” the woman would have survived the cancer if doctors at Fort Campbell had made more of an effort to catch it in 2006, and would not have been forced to undergo the painful organ removals.

On Aug. 5, the U.S. District Court judge overseeing the case approved a settlement between the staff sergeant and the government that will pay the plaintiff $2.15 million.

Source: NECN, “Settlement reached in Ky. Army malpractice claim,” Aug. 8, 2011

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