Earlier in April 2019, an Iowa medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in the amount of $12.25 million for the plaintiffs in an Iowa medical malpractice lawsuit that alleged that a pathologist mixed up the slides of tissue samples taken from the plaintiff and from a man who had prostate cancer. As a result, the plaintiff was told he had prostate cancer and had surgery to remove his prostate gland, and the man with prostate cancer was erroneously told he did not have prostate cancer and was not told the truth for at least four months.
The now 67-year-old plaintiff was wrongly told that he had prostate cancer, based on the pathologist’s screw up. The plaintiff then had surgery to remove his prostate gland in April 2017. The pathologist’s error was discovered only as a result of a microscopic examination of his prostate gland after it had been removed which showed no sign of cancerous cells. Had the man opted for radiation treatment instead of surgical removal of his prostate gland, the pathologist’s mix-up may never have been discovered. The surgery left the man with nerve damage that caused incontinence and impotency, which was a risk of the surgery.
The defendant pathology group reportedly admitted that its pathologist was negligent in mixing up the pathology slides (the pathologist claimed a barcode scanner used to match test slides with patient records apparently read the bar code from the wrong patient’s form in a stack of papers), but disagreed as to how much the man should be compensated for the harm the pathologist’s negligence caused him and his wife. The defense told the Iowa medical malpractice jury that it should award the man and his wife $750,000 for the harm they suffered, arguing that the plaintiff “still [is] able to do activities such as mow his yard, attend the State Fair and pick up his granddaughters from school.” The plaintiffs’ lawyer argued to the jury that it should award the couple $15 million, based on the severity of the harm that the man suffered and the damage to the plaintiffs’ marriage.
Trial testimony showed that the man’s impotence has caused him to feel less of a man. While his incontinence has improved, he still uses two to three urine absorbing pads every day. The wife testified that she uses Febreze in their house to hide the smell of urine, but their granddaughters have notice the smell, which the wife tells them is due to the dog so that the children do not know that the smell is from their grandfather. The wife stated after the verdict, “It was horrible, like standing up there in front of everyone. It was raw.”
If you or a family member may be the victim of pathologist malpractice or cancer misdiagnosis in Iowa or in another U.S. state, you should promptly consult with an Iowa medical malpractice attorney, or a medical malpractice attorney in your state, who may investigate your pathologist malpractice/cancer misdiagnosis claim for you and represent you or your family member in a pathologist medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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