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Misdiagnosis verdict upheld

One of the reasons West Virginia doctors give their patients for annual check-ups is that yearly physicals help physicians spot illnesses and conditions and begin early treatment. Of course, the positive benefits of early treatment are dependent on an accurate diagnosis.

We read recently of a case in which a jury decided that a neuropathologist failed to make a proper diagnosis of a man's cancer. Because of the misdiagnosis of the man's brain tumor as benign, the man did not receive proper treatment.

The Illinois case was decided by a jury three years ago; the jury ordered $1.7 million in compensation to be paid by the negligent neuropathologist to the man's widow. The doctor appealed, however, and an appellate panel recently affirmed the jury's verdict.

At the time of the misdiagnosis, the man had kidney cancer. It had spread to his brain, but the doctor concluded the tumor in the brain was a benign lesion.

The appeals court determined that the defendants were not denied a fair trial, and also decided that the plaintiff's expert witnesses had not provided testimony beyond their expertise.

Instead, the court stated that the experts made their qualifications clear and had explained at trial that "they worked in multidisciplinary teams with other tumor or cancer specialists and were familiar with the procedures and treatments."

It is possible that the defendants will appeal again, this time to the Illinois Supreme Court.

No one can know what would have happened if a proper and timely diagnosis had been made, but we do know the outcome of a misdiagnosis in this case and in many others.

An experienced medical malpractice attorney can help you fight for justice and compensation for all damages. You can contact the Huntington office of Cyrus, Adkins & Walker, Attorneys at Law, for more information about how we can help you.

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