When Oregon residents go to an emergency room, clinic or their family physician, they expect that their medical complaints will be taken seriously. When a doctor dismisses a patient's complaints without thoroughly examining the patient and the patient's history, a serious or deadly illness can be overlooked. Such a failure to diagnose does not meet the accepted standards of care and may constitute medical malpractice.
A case in which a doctor was accused of failing to take the time to make a proper diagnosis of a woman recently settled. She went to the doctor complaining of hip and back pain, beginning in Jan. 2009. He allegedly did not make a diagnosis regarding the tumors from an ultrasound. She returned the next month complaining of pain and fatigue, but the doctor reportedly refused to examine her.
The Pennsylvania woman did not see him again until July 2010. Court documents indicate that the doctor told her that the pain was in her head and all she needed was psychiatric help, not medical help. He even wrote her a prescription for an antidepressant before sending her home.
The fact that she actually had ovarian cancer was not discovered until Aug. 2010 during a procedure to remove gallstones. By then, the cancer had spread, and she died in Dec. 2013. The family filed a lawsuit against the doctor based on his refusal and failure to diagnose her cancer. Just days before it was set to go to trial, the parties reached a settlement.
Her family may never know whether she would have survived had it not been for the doctor's failure to diagnose her cancer in a timely manner. If an Oregon family loses a loved one under similar circumstances, filing a medical malpractice suit may be appropriate. Even though defendants often make settlement offers up until the trial begins, it is a family's right to pursue the case to trial. No one is required to accept a settlement that is not considered fair under the circumstances.
Source: lehighvalleylive.com, "Cancer misdiagnosis lawsuit resolved days before trial", Rudy Miller, Sept. 17, 2015