On November 20, 2018, a Montgomery County, Maryland medical malpractice jury returned a $819,437 medical malpractice verdict in favor of the plaintiff following more than three weeks of trial and three hours of jury deliberations.
The Maryland medical malpractice plaintiff alleged that the defendant gastroenterologist was medically negligent in failing to perform a colonoscopy in light of her gastrointestinal complaints over a period of three years, leading to the late diagnosis (delayed diagnosis) of her colon cancer.
The plaintiff alleged in her Maryland medical malpractice lawsuit that she was seen by the defendant gastroenterologist (and her primary care physician) between May 2013 and February 2016, for abdominal pain and other symptoms. Her worsening abdominal symptoms caused her to seek help at a hospital emergency room in late February 2016, at which time a colonoscopy was performed that revelaed a large tumor in her colon that was subsequently diagnosed as stage IIIB colon cancer.
Six months before her hospital visit, the plaintiff had to leave her job as an administrator at a children’s hospital due to fatigue.
The plaintiff alleged in her Maryland medical malpractice lawsuit that the unreasonable and unnecessary delay in having the colonoscopy caused her colon cancer to progress so that by the time of her diagnosis as a result of the colonoscopy performed in the hospital, her five-year survival rate was less than fifty percent.
The 43-year-old plaintiff was treated with chemotherapy. In early 2018, the plaintiff’s cancer was found to have spread to her liver that required surgical removal of a portion of her liver just days before the Maryland medical malpractice trial began.
The Maryland medical malpractice jury awarded the plaintiff $750,000 in noneconomic damages, $40,000 for past lost wages, and $29,437 for her past medical expenses.
Colon Cancer Screening
The vast majority of new cases of colorectal cancer (about 90%) occur in people who are 50 or older. The CDC recommends that people 50 to 75 years old should get screened for colorectal cancer (a screening test is used to look for a disease when a person doesn’t have symptoms). The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening beginning at age 50 (some groups recommend starting earlier, at age 45).
Less than half of adults aged 50 to 54 are up-to-date with colorectal cancer screening. Screening rates are much lower among adults who are 50 to 64 years old than among those 65 or older.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second leading cancer in the United States (132,700 new cases and 49,700 deaths in 2015). The 4.3% annual decline in incidence among adults aged 50 or older is marred by the concurrent 1.8% annual increase among adults younger than 50; an increase in CRC incidence of 28% to 46% is anticipated for this younger age group by 2030. Younger CRC patients typically receive a diagnosis of more advanced disease and have poorer survival rates than older CRC patients, and they account for 6.5% of total CRC deaths.
Because colonoscopy allows for the removal of benign polyps that cause 75% to 80% of CRCs, colonoscopy screening can reduce CRC incidence by 83% and CRC mortality by 89%.
If you or a family member may be the victim of cancer misdiagnosis in Maryland or in another U.S. state, you should promptly consult with a Maryland malpractice lawyer or a medical malpractice lawyer in your state who may investigate your cancer malpractice claim for you and represent you or your family member in a cancer medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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