New York — A woman from Brooklyn, NY died from complications of lung cancer after doctors at the hospital delayed diagnosis of her deadly condition. Family of the victim say that the hospital’s misdiagnosis was due to not following up on a suspicious finding in an x-ray several years earlier. A small nodule or mass was spotted on a chest x-ray but her doctors failed to properly evaluate this, delaying her cancer diagnosis for over two years. Reports show that the doctors working in the New York City owned hospital were negligent by not fully reading and acting on the x-ray report from the radiologist, which pointed out the suspicious spot and recommended specific follow-up instructions. The missed diagnosis of her lung cancer allowed the disease to continue growing until it metastasized, spreading to her other lung, liver, spine and brain. The original hospital error was compounded when subsequent clinic doctors kept treating the woman’s cough and difficulty breathing as asthma. Those doctors never ordered another chest x-ray or properly reviewed the original one.
Experts have predicted that the woman’s cancer could have been treated properly and her life could have been saved had the doctors not committed medical malpractice several times over those two years. Patient activists say that doctor mistakes like this often occur when protocols and conditions created by the hospital or office don’t meet basic standards for patient safety. They warn that doctors and nurses as well as hospital administrators need to take a close look at the day-to-day running of their facilities in order to ensure the constant rush of patients doesn’t allow for overlooking things. Some note that doctors are quick to order tests but sometimes don’t leave enough time to look at the test results. A medical malpractice lawyer in New York says that when a doctor doesn’t order the proper diagnostic tests and when he or she doesn’t follow up on the tests that were ordered, both situations constitute medical malpractice. Find out more about this medical error case and the consequences here.
Read about another case of failure to diagnose, where top medical malpractice attorneys helped the injured party receive rightful compensation in the amount of $3,425,000.
Photo by Nevit Dilmen (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons