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Patient's good news is bad news for doctor who misdiagnosed him

Finding out that one's has longer to live than he thought is good news, right? Right. But that revelation is tainted by the emotional stress that the person went through when he believed that he was going to die of a serious illness. A man who went through this dramatic life situation sued the doctor who prematurely -- and inaccurately -- told him that he had mere months to live. 

In 2009, a doctor told his patient that he was suffering from Stage 4 pancreatic cancer and had little time left. The patient did and went through what many in his situation would do. He grieved, spilled the news to his friends and family and prepared to live his last days. Part of that meant leaving his work behind. Therefore, there were emotional and financial costs to the misdiagnosis that shook the patient's world. 

Further evaluation of the man's health revealed the positive truth that his medical condition was not the grave diagnosis that his doctor had given. In this case, the misdiagnosis did not lead to missed or late treatment of an illness. The patient is okay, alive and able to have filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor. Just because he didn't get sicker or die because of the medical error doesn't mean he didn't suffer any loss or that negligence didn't exist.

The medical malpractice suit recently ended, with the court awarding the plaintiff a reported $200,000 for the emotional distress that the misdiagnosis caused him, as well as for the income that he missed out on when he stopped working due to the negligent diagnosis. Jurors awarded the victim more money than the lawsuit sought. Clearly, they saw that the doctor's failure to effectively use tests in his diagnosis process caused preventable injury to the misdiagnosis victim.

There are various causes and types of medical malpractice. Misdiagnoses are some of the most common. Even if a failed diagnosis doesn't lead to someone's worsened condition, this case proves that he could still have a reason to seek the help of a medical malpractice lawyer in order to seek justice for the hardship the experience caused.

Source: Lewiston-Auburn Sun Journal, "Misdiagnosis: Greene man wins $200,000 suit," Mark LaFlamme, June 13, 2013

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