Updated January 29, 2019 | By Wilson Kehoe Winingham staff
A medical malpractice case can revolve around any number of different factors. Sometimes it’s about an obvious medical error: an operation was performed on the wrong part of the body, for example, or an instrument was left inside a patient. Sometimes it’s about a misdiagnosis, where a patient is told they have nothing to be concerned with, when their mammogram actually shows something that should be examined more thoroughly. Sometimes it’s a drug or medication error, with a wrong drug given (or the correct drug not given) or a dosage being too high or too low.
One case ongoing in the Indiana court system involves yet another kind of malpractice: A woman has sued a doctor for a missed cancer diagnosis. The error led a later doctor to believe the patient was suffering from a more serious form of cancer. The second doctor then put the patient on a course of treatment that led to unnecessary medical treatments and procedures.
Every medical malpractice claim is important to the victim because of the injury caused or not treated and the potential distress involved. In this case, the missed diagnosis led to the patient receiving unnecessary chemotherapy, undergoing surgery to implant a port that would not otherwise have been needed, and requiring two years of immunotherapy drugs to counter the side effects of the chemo. The patient also suffered unjustified emotional stress because she believed she was afflicted with a cancer that might take her life in a matter of weeks, when her actual condition was treatable and survivable.
Had the oncologist been aware of the previous tests, he would have recognized that this was a treatable cancer. In the absence of the previous results, however, the diagnosis he made and the aggressive treatment that followed were justified.
In the original suit, the court granted a summary judgement for the doctor and dismissed the case, based on the opinion of a medical review panel which agreed that the doctor had not met the standard of care in this situation but rejected the idea that the doctor was responsible for any later damages. On appeal, however, the case in question (Sorrells v. Reid-Renner) was reinstated. The appeals court determined that the testimony of the patient’s oncologist appropriately countered the medical review panel’s opinion and that the patient had met the burden of proving that an issue of fact existed for trial. The appeals court ruled that the previous summary judgement was not justified, so the case can now continue in the lower courts.
As this case demonstrates, the issues surrounding medical malpractice can be complex. If you are in a situation where you need legal assistance with a medical malpractice case, contact the attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. An experienced Indianapolis medical malpractice lawyer at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
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