Woman wins $16.7 million in malpractice suit

Getting misdiagnosed is nearly everyone’s worst fear. You are an average person with no medical knowledge. You have no choice but to put all your trust in the doctors and hope they are doing their job correctly. Fortunately, as technology increases, it is harder for doctors to misdiagnose. Still, there are cases in the US of misdiagnosis that have been reported.A Boston woman died of lung cancer. Her daughter was recently awarded $16.7 million when evidence revealed that the radiologist misdiagnosed her.One of the lawyers in the case explained that this is by far the largest medical malpractice that Massachusetts has seen in 2014. The lawsuit was against Dr. Peter Clarke of Brigham and Women’s Hospital.Jeanne Ellis died at the age of 47 in August 2008. Her daughter, Johnette Ellis, sued the doctor on her mother’s behalf.Jeanne first began feeling ill in October 2006. Her cough was so persistent that she went to the emergency room to get it checked out. The doctor ordered an X-ray. It came back normal, which determined that she wasn’t suffering from pneumonia. The doctor diagnosed her with an upper respiratory infection. She was prescribed antibiotics.Over a year later, Jeanne visited the hospital when her symptoms worsened. This time the doctor ordered a CT scan. This revealed that she had advanced lung cancer. She died seven months later. In that time, the cancer spread to her kidneys, liver, spine and pubic bone.Robert Higgins was Johnette’s lawyer in the case. Higgins examined the original X-ray from 2006. It turns out that the X-ray showed a 1.5 centimeter nodule in Jeanne’s left lung. By November 2007, it had grown to 3 centimeters. Jeanne also had many new nodules that appeared since the original scan.Clarke’s lawyer was Phillip E. Murray. He argued that Clarke’s initial diagnosis was reasonable. Murray did not feel that a reward of $16.7 million was appropriate for the case. He asked the judge for a new trial.Murray explained that the doctor could see irregularities in the scan but that it could have been attributed to other things. The lawyer thought that a chest X-ray was not the best tool for finding lung cancer. He argued that Clarke was not provided with a full medical history. The doctor was not aware that Jeanne was a smoker for 30 year or that her mother died from lung cancer.Higgins explained that Johnette was entitled to the reward. She was Jeanne’s only child.The hospital released a statement regarding this event: “The Brigham and Women’s Hospital community extends our sincere sympathies to Johnette Ellis for the loss of her mother. We believe that Dr. Clarke acted in accordance with the diagnostic standards of care and that, sadly, Ms. Ellis’s cancer was incurable at the time Dr. Clarke became involved in her care.”The Las Vegas radiologists at Steinberg Diagnostic are well-trained. They provide quality care for each and every patient. They have been completely accurate in their diagnoses. To schedule an appointment, contact 702.732.6000.

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