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Jury finds doctor culpable in medical malpractice death

One of the most important relationships in the lives of South Carolina residents is the one they forge with their family doctor. Though the vast majority of patients place their trust in their care providers, that trust can be misplaced when an important diagnosis is missed. Recently, a jury in a medical malpractice case determined that a physician was negligent.

The suit was filed on behalf of a deceased patient who died of kidney cancer at the end of 2014. According to the testimony and records that were presented during the trial, the patient, who was 54 when he died, could possibly have been cured of the disease had his primary care provider pursued testing after a suspicious urinalysis result in 2009. This test revealed the presence of red blood cells in the urine after routine testing for an unrelated health condition.

According to the patient's own account in 2011, he was unaware of the previous positive test performed two years prior. After the 2011 positive test, he was sent to a specialist who confirmed the presence of cancer in his kidney that was no longer confined to that organ. However, the attorneys who handled the malpractice claim discovered the earlier test result and that, after it was repeated approximately 30 days later, there was no indication of bleeding. At that point, his physician did not order any additional tests to rule out the presence of serious diseases.

In spite of testimony from two other physicians that supported the doctor's claim of providing appropriate care in 2009, a jury found that the physician was negligent in not pursuing additional care after the 2009 urinalysis. The patient's estate and surviving family members were awarded $4.2 million in damages. South Carolina patients who have experienced their own negative consequences from negligent or inappropriate treatment may seek information concerning how to pursue restitution for monetary damages through a medical malpractice civil lawsuit.

Source: lowellsun.com, "Billerica man's estate wins $4.2M medical malpractice suit", Aaron Curtis, April 3, 2018

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