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Man diagnosed with wrong type of cancer awarded $200K

For many individuals a diagnosis of cancer is the scariest possible outcome of a doctor visit. Upon receiving such as diagnosis there are many things that need to be determined including the stage of the cancer, possible treatments and depending on the diagnosis, how long someone has to live. There are few in the Pittsburgh area who would not find this process traumatic, particularly when the prognosis is dire.

Considering how difficult this potentially is to handle, imagine then what it would be like to then learn that the aggressive cancer diagnosis is actually not as bad as it initially seemed. A man in another state dealt with this firsthand when he was told he had Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. At the time of the diagnosis he was reportedly told that he probably only had months to live. Accordingly, the man began putting things in order in anticipation of his death. Among other things, he took time off from work.

In reality, the man had a less serious cancer–non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and four years later the man is still alive. Because of the disruption the misdiagnosis had on his life the man filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the medical center that employed the doctor who provided the diagnosis. In it, the man claimed he suffered a loss of enjoyment of his life, lost wages and emotional distress. He sought $150,000 in damages.

The lawsuit alleged negligence occurred in a couple of ways. First, he claimed the doctor he saw did not read the results of his CT scan correctly. In addition, the doctor reportedly did not have all test results before he shared his diagnosis with the man.

The case ultimately went to trial and a jury recently rendered its verdict. It awarded the man a total of $200,000. The award was $50,000 more than what the man requested.

Source: Lewiston-Auburn Sun Journal, "Misdiagnosis: Greene man wins $200,000 suit," Mark LaFlamme, June 13, 2013

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