Doctor Fails to Properly Misdiagnose Breast Cancer Victim; Jury Awards $15 Million!
This case is from a jury in the Suffolk County Supreme Court which awarded the victim $15 million for a doctor’s misdiagnosis of her breast cancer. Misdiagnosis cases are scary. They are scary for many reasons both related and unrelated to the law. Clearly it is scary because it affects your health and well-being, particularly when another trusted person told you that you should not be worried and everything was okay.
Legally, misdiagnosis cases are scary because the statute of limitations can run out very easily. The Civil Practice Law and Rules provide for only two and a half years for a patient to bring a misdiagnosis claim against a doctor in section 214-a. However, the discovery rule—which allows for an alternative period when the medical malpractice is discovered and expands the statute of limitations—does not apply in misdiagnosis cases. Since it sometimes takes more than two and a half years to learn of the doctor’s mistake, this can leave an aggrieved patient without any want to get compensation from the doctor!
In this case, the patient went to a breast cancer center complaining of a lump she found. The doctor performed a mammogram and did not see any issues in it. Further, the doctor failed to complete a follow-up test—a very simple sonography—where the lump was felt; this is a VERY common follow-up. But he failed to do this and sent the patient on her way. As time went on, the cancer began to grow and spread and now, sixteen months later, it had spread to her lymph nodes and bones.
After hearing all of the testimony and arguments, the jury came back with a unanimous verdict against the doctor that, if he had treated her properly the first time, the cancer would not have spread to the rest of her body and caused these serious health complications. Now, the mother of three children, has a very uncertain future which could have completely been avoided if there was the proper breast cancer diagnosis.
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