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South Carolina doctor liable in fatal cancer case

The widower and three children of a South Carolina woman were awarded $10 million over her death after the widower rejected a settlement offer of $250,000.

Lawyers for the defense have filed a request to have the court review the verdict and either reduce the amount or overturn it entirely.

In essence, the woman died as a result of a series of mistakes. She had a noncancerous tumor on a kidney and the urologist originally intended to remove it. For some reason, he never followed through with that or any other care.

A year later, the woman's primary care noted that the growth might need to be removed, along with her kidney, and recommended follow-up care. Only months later, a scan showed that the tumor had grown. She was also was suffering from pain. A radiologist recommended an evaluation to exclude the possibility that the tumor was actually cancer.

That recommendation wasn't passed to the urologist. About nine months later, her primary care ordered a new scan and the radiologist declared that the growth was absolutely malignant and had begun to advance to the rest of the woman's body. Because of that, it was too late to stop the cancer from killing her.

Had she been treated when the growth was first noted or even when the radiologist first suggested it might have been malignant, her survival rate would have been 94 percent.

Cases like this are notable simply because the large verdicts usually are punitive in nature -- they don't reflect the victim's pain and suffering or the losses felt by the survivors. Instead, they are designed to punish the defendants for their lapses.

If you've been the victim of medical malpractice, or have lost someone who was, take a careful look at all your legal options before you accept any settlement offer.

Source: www.thestate.com, "Columbia doctor must pay $10 million in fatal cancer case, jury says," John Monk, accessed Jan. 12, 2018

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