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Despite all the advancements in modern medicine over the last decade, scientists are still nowhere close to finding a cure for cancer. As such, we in the general population must continue to rely upon the proven — but certainly not guaranteed — tools utilized by physicians from prevention and screening to surgery and chemotherapy.
However, what happens when a physician misuses these tools, perhaps giving you a deadly diagnosis that later turns out to be an unbelievable and perhaps even unforgivable mistake?
Unfortunately, that is precisely what happened to one Maine man, who was wrongfully informed by his treating physician in April 2009 that he had an extremely aggressive form of Stage 4 pancreatic cancer that was likely to kill him in a matter of months.
The man, then 43, was utterly stunned by the news and began taking the sad, painful and utterly frightening steps of preparing for his death, including taking time away from work and desperately trying to figure out how he could provide for his wife after he was gone.
While he received the wonderful news a short time later that he had a far less deadly and far more treatable form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, the psychological toll he had endured in the meantime had been very harmful.
The toll was so great in fact that the man understandably filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the medical center that employed the diagnosing physician, citing “tremendous emotional distress,” as well as lost wages and loss of enjoyment.
In the complaint, the diagnosing physician was accused of failing to await the results of pathology tests before delivering the grim news and negligently interpreting the results of a CT scan.
In recent developments, the jury in the case handed down a verdict last week, finding that the physician did indeed cause the plaintiff undue emotional anguish and awarding him $200,000.
The attorney representing the now cancer-free man perhaps summed up the entire matter best.
“There are some things you have to get right the first time,” he said.
Please visit our website if you or a loved one has been harmed by a cancer misdiagnosis.
Source: The Lewiston-Auburn Sun Journal, “Misdiagnosis: Greene man wins $200,000 suit,” Mark LaFlamme, June 13, 2013