Failure to Diagnose Sarcoma Leads to Verdict
An Illinois jury recently awarded a Chicago man over $10 million following a pathologist's erroneous conclusion that a mass on his right thigh was benign, when in fact, it was a cancerous liposarcoma (a tumor that invades the fatty tissue of the body). The Plaintiff, age 60, developed a mass on his right thigh that persisted for several years. He went to see an orthopedic surgeon, who in turn, referred him for a biopsy. Despite the appearance of abnormal cells on the pathological slide, the defendant pathologist interpreted the cells as being benign. Ultimately, the cancer spread outside of the right thigh, become metastatic in nature and spreading throughout the man's body. The condition was deemed terminal. The Plaintiff sued the pathologist, arguing that the pathologist should not have ruled out cancer based on the appearance of the cells, and instead, should have asked for a bigger tissue sample to conduct additional tests.
At STSW, our lawyers are routinely contacted about failure to diagnose cancer in a timely fashion cases. In Maryland, in order for a failure to timely diagnose cancer case to be potentially meritorious, the delay must have caused a patient to go from a probability of survival (greater than 50% chance) to a probability of dying (less than 50% chance of survival). Maryland does not recognize what is known as a loss of chance. Meaning, if the delay in diagnosis resulted in a patient's survivability decreasing from 90% to 60%, there can be no case under Maryland law. The survivability must be below 50% before action can be taken. Often times it is difficult to know the survivability percentages. Doctors do not always tell patients what their "chances" are because no two patients are alike. Our lawyers, therefore, rely on the latest medical literature and expert witnesses to help us understand what a Stage II, Stage III, or Stage IV cancer means in terms of survivability. Not every cancer is equal in terms of these percentages as some are must easier cured than others.
If you or a loved one have been victimized in the Baltimore or Washington D.C. area by a physicians' failure to diagnose a cancer in a timely fashion, call our lawyers at (410) 385-2225 for a free consultation.