When a medical malpractice claim is filed, it is not uncommon for the physician’s insurance company to offer a settlement to the victim – or the victim’s family if the malpractice killed the victim – in order to avoid litigating the claim in court and having a jury decide the outcome. But far too often, that settlement offer does not even come close to what the family – or a jury – feel is a fair offer.
This is what happened in a recent case in Richland County, South Carolina when the family of a woman who died from preventable cancer filed a malpractice claim. The insurance company offered $250,000, which the family refused. The jury, obviously agreeing with the family, awarded the victim’s family $10 million.
Doctor’s Failure Leads to Cancer
In 2010, the victim was under the care of her primary care doctor and a urologist. Both doctors were keeping track of a noncancerous growth on the woman’s kidney. The urologist began making preparations to remove part or all of the victim’s kidney but put off the surgery and other treatments that would have taken care of the growth.
In April 2011, the primary physician made a note that the growth could eventually require removal of the kidney and order a follow-up in six months. But four months later, the victim ended up back at the doctors with lower back pain. A scan showed that the growth had increased.
The radiologist who took the scan recommended “follow up and/or evaluation … to exclude … underlying malignancy,” but that was never communicated to the urologist.
In June 2012, another scan showed the mass on her kidney continued to get larger. This time, the radiologist noted that the mass was absolutely malignant and that cancer had now spread to other parts of the woman’s body. She went to a cancer specialist who diagnosed the cancer as too advanced to treat. She died four months later.
The jury agreed with the lawsuit’s contention that up until April 2011, surgery would have most likely prevented the cancer and her death and had the urologist intervened, that intervention would have saved the woman’s life.
Contact a Carolinas Malpractice Attorney
If you or a member of your family has suffered injury or illness due to the failure or negligence of a doctor or other medical staff, contact a North Carolina medical malpractice attorney to find out what legal recourse you may have.