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Jury says doctors' failure to diagnose was medical malpractice

Many women here in Illinois and around the country try to be proactive about their health. This includes mammograms, which are designed to be an early detection for breast cancer. When this type of test is not properly read, the failure to diagnose appropriately could negatively affect the patient's chances of survival.

Recently, a jury awarded a woman and her husband nearly $7 million because her doctors failed to diagnose her breast cancer until it was too late. She is now considered to be terminal. Despite her condition, she continues to work as a nurse and to serve as a reservist for the Air Force.

Being a nurse, she wanted to be proactive about her health and underwent her first mammogram at age 35. She had another one at age 39, which showed some calcification that was not in her first mammogram. Instead of conducting additional tests to determine whether they were cancerous, her doctors told her they were benign and sent her on her way without even recommending a follow-up. Nearly two more years went by before she received a diagnosis of Stage III Invasive Duct Carcinoma, which has since spread to her bones. Due to the lateness of her diagnosis, her treatment options are limited, and she will likely die from the cancer at some point.

She subsequently filed a lawsuit, resulting in an award of damages similar to those that typically apply in medical malpractice cases here in Illinois. The jury agreed with her that the failure to diagnose her cancer in a timely manner deprived her of the chance to survive it. Hopefully, her efforts will give another woman the chance to overcome this potentially deadly disease.

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

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Frequently Asked Questions about Medical Malpractice

Q: What is medical malpractice?

A: Medical malpractice is negligence committed by a professional health care provider, such as a doctor, nurse, dentist, technician, hospital worker or hospital, whose treatment of a patient departs from a standard of care met by those with similar training and experience, resulting in harm to a patient...

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