In August, 2003, a 25-year-old Tennessee woman was examined by her OB/GYN who found a pea-sized lump in her left breast that the OB/GYN advised the woman was probably a cyst or fatty deposit. No further investigation or testing was done at that time.
About eighteen months later, during the woman’s pregnancy, she noticed that her left breast had become swollen and was more painful. Another OB/GYN then found a cystic/solid mass in her left breast. A mammogram and biopsy were ordered that revealed breast cancer and it was later determined that the breast cancer was Stage IV and had spread to her liver.
The medical malpractice lawsuit filed in 2006 alleged that had the original OB/GYN done appropriate testing in August, 2003, the cancer would have been discovered eighteen months earlier and at a much earlier stage before it had time to spread, and that the cancer would have been treatable at that time with likely survival. As a result of the alleged medical malpractice and the resulting delay in diagnosis, the woman had to undergo extensive and painful medical treatments and has suffered from severe pain and mental anguish. Her long-term survival from Stage IV breast cancer was unlikely.
After a two-week trial before a jury made up of both men and women that ended in July, 2009, the Tennessee medical malpractice jury returned a verdict in favor of the woman in the amount of $23.6 million, one of the largest jury verdicts in Tennessee history.
$23.6 million may sound like a too-large jury verdict until you realize the extent and duration of the pain and suffering that the young mother had to endure due to the alleged medical negligence of her OB/GYN and you consider that the woman will not survive her cancer and therefore will not be alive to experience the milestones of her baby daughter’s first day of school, first school dance, first boyfriend, first prom, graduation from high school, first day of college, graduation from college, planning for her daughter’s wedding, her daughter’s wedding day, and the joy of being with her grandchildren. The young woman will also lose out on the long-term enjoyment of her marriage to a supportive husband who will be left to raise their young child on his own. A simple, non-evasive mammogram followed by a minimally evasive biopsy could have avoided this tragedy that will leave an unfillable void in the lives of the young woman, her husband, her child, her family, and her friends.
The medical malpractice experience of this Tennessee mother highlights the fact that medical care that falls below the required level of care can have catastrophic results that destroy the life of not only the patient, but also the lives of the patient’s family and loved ones.
No one expects that their medical care providers will breach the standard of care required of them but when they do, the advice of a medical malpractice attorney is critical to protecting the rights of innocent victims injured as a result of medical malpractice through no fault of their own.
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