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Medical malpractice suit successfully navigated by terminal nurse

Workers in the world of health care typically understand the importance of taking a proactive stance towards health and wellness, leading many medical professionals in California to undergo routine or early screenings for serious diseases such as cancer or diabetes. Unfortunately, those proactive steps did not do much to protect a nurse when early signs of her cancer were dismissed. After being given a terminal diagnosis, she filed a medical malpractice suit against the doctor who failed to correctly diagnose her.

Although yearly mammograms are recommended for women beginning at the age of 45, the nurse underwent her first mammogram at the age of 35. Five years later she returned for a second mammogram that revealed concerning calcifications in her breasts. When presented with the results, her doctor dismissed the need for additional testing or biopsies, instead promptly diagnosing the calcification as benign.

Without the additional testing, the nurse did not discover that she actually had breast cancer until two years had already passed. By then the cancer had spread to her hips, spine and sternum. Treatment options for this type of condition are limited and, in her case, would not be able to reverse the cancer's spread or save her life. When she filed suit and claimed that the delayed cancer diagnosis directly resulted in her terminal diagnosis, a jury agreed, and awarded her and her husband nearly $7 million in compensation.

For many diseases like cancer, receiving a timely diagnosis is necessary in order to begin required treatments as quickly as possible. A missed diagnosis due to a divergence from the accepted standard of care -- such as not ordering additional testing a suspect mammogram -- can virtually erase a patient's chance of surviving. Such grievous acts of medical malpractice can wreak havoc on victim's life and place an undue burden on loved one's shoulders. In many cases, California families turn to the civil court system in order to seek necessary and just compensation for patients who have been wrongly injured by a trusted health care provider.

Source:, "Nurse, husband awarded nearly $7M in malpractice suit", Christina Elmore, Jan. 23, 2016

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