Catching cancer early is often one of the best ways to battle the illness. If a doctor makes an error that results in a failure to diagnose cancer, the results for a North Adams resident can be devastating. The patient may miss out on potentially lifesaving treatments as well as the time to develop an appropriate plan of action. As one recent lawsuit illustrates, making a mistake in diagnosing cancer can be deadly.

In August 2008, a 47-year-old woman died from lung cancer. Roughly two years prior to her death, a radiologist conducted an X-ray of her chest and determined it was normal. More than a year following that initial X-ray, doctors found that the woman had lung cancer.

The woman’s daughter sued a hospital and the physician as a result of the mistake. A jury ruled that the daughter was entitled to $16.7 million, which is the largest medical malpractice case in the state of Massachusetts this year. The attorney for the defendant stated that the radiologist acted appropriately, and he will be seeking a new trial. According to the hospital, the radiologist did not deviate from the diagnostic standards of care.

Losing someone to cancer is difficult no matter what the circumstances are, but it can be particularly devastating to know that had physicians avoided an error, a life could have been saved. Survivors should contact an attorney when they suspect medical malpractice. A lawyer can file a lawsuit that will hold the negligent parties financially responsible for the costs associated with the death.

Source: MassLive, “Jury awards $16.7M in Boston medical malpractice suit,” June 30, 2014