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Less than One Year to Live: Jury Awards Former Patient $2.5 Million for Physician's Failure to Diagnose

Less than One Year to Live: Jury Awards Former Patient $2.5 Million for Physician's Failure to Diagnose

At age 35, a former police officer went to his physician looking for answers. He was experiencing symptoms such as rectal bleeding and other gastric difficulties. However, his physician only ordered an endoscopy (upper G.I. test), and did not order a colonoscopy. His symptoms persisted for years after. Upon moving to Arizona at age 42, he went looking for answers again. This time, his new physician ordered the appropriate testing. Unfortunately, it was too late. The prognosis was Stage 4 colon cancer, and his physician projected that he has less than one year to live. After bringing suit against his former physician in 2009 for a failure to perform the necessary medical tests that most likely would have indicated the presence of cancer, a jury awarded him $2.5 million.

We go to see our physicians because they are the medical experts. When something is wrong, we trust them to order the appropriate tests and help us navigate through the uncertainty surrounding the status of our health. It is true that some physicians practice defensive medicine and have ordered too many tests which can do more harm for the patient than good. However, physician inaction in the face of symptoms which obviate the need for certain medical test can lead to serious, and sometimes fatal, outcomes. In the case of the former police officer, his chances of survival were significantly reduced to the point where he was left with less than one year to live. That lost chance at life allowed the jury to hear evidence that the inaction by the former police officer's first physician proximately caused a substantial reduction in his chance of life.

Failure-to-diagnose cases are difficult to prove and some may result in settlement. However, with experienced medical malpractice attorneys who enlist the support of experts in the field of medicine, credible claimants should have a good chance at recovery. If your medical condition or other illnesses have worsened because of a failure to diagnose, it is important to speak to a medical malpractice attorney. Please contact us at (314) 436-9958 or (800) 391-4318 to schedule a no-obligation meeting with an attorney.

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