Final Verdict: Failure to Notify was Malpractice
All medical malpractice cases are challenging. Medical providers fight the hardest when they are under indictment by injured plaintiffs, and a medical malpractice attorney will need to hire experts, collect evidence, and establish a clear showing that the provider violated standards of medical care. Additionally, they must prove that the violation of care caused or worsened the injuries. Only then can an injured patient receive compensation for everything that they’ve been through.
One of the most straightforward ways to show medical malpractice is misdiagnosis. Patients trust their doctors to make accurate, clear assessments of symptoms and provide good recommendations. Not every medical condition is immediately discernible — the television show House gave examples of that in almost every episode — but a doctor should still be honest about those limitations and recommend further investigation if they are unsure what is going on.
Misdiagnosis becomes medical malpractice when a doctor has clear signs of what is wrong but fails to act, or doesn’t prescribe the correct diagnostic steps for the symptoms that are presented. If this failure results in a lack of prompt treatment, the consequences can be severe. Certain medical conditions require immediate action and grow much worse if ignored. A patient who follows poor medical advice and ignores symptoms has a valid medical malpractice claim if further harm results. Cohen & Cohen, P.C.
In 2011, Maryland resident Roslyn Baxter had a hysterectomy performed by Lauren Rodgers, a medical doctor who had been hired to conduct the surgery. During the surgery, Dr. Rodgers found tumors in Roslyn’s uterus and extracted samples. Unknown to Roslyn, Dr. Rodgers had the samples analyzed by an independent pathologist, who determined that they were cancerous and recommended follow-up treatment and cancer screenings.
For three years, however, Dr. Rodgers did nothing. Only in 2014, after Roslyn visited an oncologist, was it discovered that cancer in her uterus had metastasized and spread to her lungs. By the time of trial in 2017, the lung cancer had progressed to Stage 4 sarcoma. Roslyn sued, arguing that Dr. Rodgers had breached the ordinary medical standard of care by failing to disclose cancer when there might have been time to treat it more aggressively.
Dr. Rodgers argued that she had not violated the ordinary standard of care, claiming that a note from a 2011 meeting called for a discussion of the pathology findings. She also argued that even if cancer had been detected sooner, it would not have changed the outcome for Roslyn. She questioned whether the lung cancer had actually developed from uterine cancer.
Over the course of the five-day trial, numerous experts testified for a six-person jury in Prince George’s County, Maryland. In the end, the jury was uncertain whether uterine cancer had actually been the causal factor for the sarcoma. However, they found Dr. Rodger had failed to notify Roslyn or properly advise her about the necessity of follow-up treatment. This was so egregious that they awarded a judgment of $1,000,000.00 for her pain and suffering.