In this reported case, a doctor failed to diagnose colon cancer. The man was diagnosed later by another physician, and given one year to live.
If you are going to practice medicine, then it is a good idea to get it right or make every attempt to do so by taking some action. In this case, the initial doctor took no action and because of that failure to diagnose, a 42-year old former police officer died for no good reason.
The story went like this. The former cop, who was 35-years-old when he first went to a doctor in 2004, went because he had a variety of gastric complaints and rectal bleeding. The rectal bleeding alone should have prompted the first doctor to order a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy to check for rectal cancer. The doctor did no such thing. Instead, he ordered a series of upper G.I. films for his stomach issues. An upper G.I. will not find cancer in the colon.
The ex-officer moved to another state in 2006 and found another doctor. When he went to see him, he repeated his complaints about rectal bleeding. His doctor immediately ordered the right tests and they revealed he had Stage 4 colon cancer that was incurable. At the age of 42-years-old, the man was told he had less than a year to live.
Knowing his family would be in difficult financial straits, and that he would need extra and extraordinary care until he died, he filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the first doctor who failed to diagnose him in 2004. His claim pointed out that by failing to diagnose his condition, the doctor handed him a death sentence. When this case went to court, the jury agreed with the plaintiff, and found the first doctor negligent and that negligence directly caused the plaintiff’s pending death.
The jury handed down a $2.5 million verdict for pain and suffering, medical expenses and decreased life expectancy; a verdict that was reduced to $1.25 million thanks to medical malpractice caps. In other words, the victim was raped twice: once by the doctor who failed to diagnose his condition because he did not do the proper tests when he should have, and twice thanks to medical malpractice caps that limit damage awards in cases like this.
Medical malpractice caps do what? They take money away from a devastated injury victim so the insurance company gets to write a smaller claim to close the file. Tort reform is not about helping medical malpractice victims find justice. It is about ensuring the doctors do not pay for their mistakes or take responsibility for their errors and the insurance companies can keep more money and to heck with the innocent victims.
It is also about not trusting juries to make a righteous and fair decision about the case in front of them. You have to trust juries to do their job. It is rare to have a runaway jury, as most strive to get an equitable balance in their decisions.
What kind of a justice system is that? Do you think the reduced amount was adequate to compensate the man for his premature death, his pain, suffering, and medical bills and end of life care? If you were in the same situation, would you be happy with the state raping you for your just compensation to keep big insurance in business?
This kind of case is something that a plaintiff would need to discuss with an experienced Manchester medical malpractice lawyer. Make sure you promptly look into what your legal rights are to bring a lawsuit for medical negligence. A Manchester medical malpractice lawyer’s job is to help victims get as much compensation as they can for their future.
Charlie Donahue is a New Hampshire personal injury lawyer located in Keene. Donahue handles injury cases in New Hampshire and across the United States. To learn more about New Hampshire injury attorney, Charlie Donahue, visit Donahuelawfirm.com.