Single mom with cancer alleges medical malpractice

Posted on behalf of Stewart Bell, PLLC on Jan 09, 2013 in Doctor Errors

Three years ago, a single mom went to a hospital complaining of chest pain. Doctors there ordered a chest X-ray and EKG and delivered good news: everything was fine.

Unfortunately, that first-year resident doctor was wrong. There was a two-centimeter nodule in the woman's right lung; something the radiologist noted in his report. But the doctor was never given the information and a string of similarly poor communications at the facility far from us in West Virginia have left the woman facing imminent death from a cancer that should have been detected and treated long ago.

That crucial information was never passed along to physicians who saw the woman in two years of follow-up appointments at the New York hospital's clinic and never given to her primary care physicians there either.

Two years after her first visit, she returned to the ER with difficulty breathing. A new chest X-ray revealed the nodule again, now twice as large and spread to her other lung.

Doctors now had very bad news: she had Stage 4 lung cancer that had metastasized in her brain, spine and liver.

During the two years while doctors ignored her growing cancer, they had prescribed a variety of measures to address her breathing problems, including cough syrups and inhalers, apparently in the belief that asthma was the source of her difficulties.

She says she's now been told she has approximately six months to live.

As she told a reporter her story, she wept. Not so much for herself, as for her only child: a severely mentally retarded, autistic 15-year-old daughter.

Like any other mother would, she wonders and agonizes over what will happen to her girl after she's gone.

We will have more on this tragic case in our next medical malpractice blog post.

Source: New York Daily News, "Hospital's mistake leaves single Brooklyn mom with 6 months to live," Heidi Evans, Jan. 6, 2013

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