Misread CT Scan Leads to $15M Verdict for Stage 4 Cancer Victim

An Indiana cancer victim has been awarded $15 million in damages after a federal jury ruled that a doctor had failed to identify and treat a cancerous tumor in her rectum following a CT scan in November 21014 at an imaging center.

The victim’s cancerous tumor then went undetected and untreated for almost 18 months, causing her cancer to worsen, according to a June 19 story by The Indiana Lawyer.

In her medical malpractice lawsuit, Courtney Webster alleged that the imaging facility, the Center for Diagnostic Imaging, Inc., doing business as CDI Indiana LLC, was negligent and “responsible for the conduct of a doctor who failed to identify a tumor” following her CT scan, the story reported. The lawsuit, which claimed her tumor was not diagnosed until May 2016, was filed in October 2016 by Webster and her husband, Brian Webster.

“As a direct and proximate result of CDI and CDI Indiana’s substandard care, Courtney Webster’s rectal cancer grew and spread, significantly reducing her chances of surviving the disease, significantly altering her treatment options, and causing her severe pain, suffering and emotional distress,” according to the couple’s lawsuit.

Normally, medical cases in Indiana are subject to arbitrary statutory caps which limit the damages that can be awarded to victims, but in this case, CDI denied responsibility “and asserted that the corporation did not operate the center and was not a medical provider.” Instead, the company argued it provided management services.

“Because of its stance in the case, CDI was not subject to caps on damages that typically would be in place when medical providers opt in to coverage under the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act,” the story reported. “Had CDI been covered by the act, Webster’s recoverable malpractice damages would have been capped at $1.25 million.”

For the victim, the $15 million verdict to compensate her for her real and serious injury claims was only possible in this case because the imaging company tried to shield itself as a non-medical operation. That opened the way for the plaintiffs to receive more than the $1.25 million allowed by Indiana’s arbitrary caps in med mal cases.

Such caps on damages unfairly hurt the innocent victims of a doctor’s negligence, essentially telling them that their suffering is not important and of little value.

med mal

Photo credit: iStockphoto.com/stuartbur

Why do the Minnesota legislators, and those in other states with similar damage award caps, think it is acceptable to limit a victim’s suffering to a low, arbitrary amount? Why would we allow medical professionals to essentially skate free on the full extent of the destruction they’ve caused?

This is a sad commentary on the practice of allowing well-paid lobbyists to trump the average victim. A well-educated and wealthy doctor is protected in such cases, but if the same damages were caused by a negligent cab driver he or she would pay the full extent of the damages they caused under our current legal system.

Does this really make any sense?

It’s just another example of why people should understand the policy positions of those who seek to represent them in Congress and to make sure that when you cast your vote that they share your beliefs in a fair and just court system. Caps on damages have not yet been enacted in Pennsylvania, but the pressure by health care professionals to do just that continues to be a never-ending battle.

In Webster’s case, she was eventually diagnosed with stage 4 cancer with a low survival rate of about 10 percent over five years. She is continuing to undergo chemotherapy treatment.

The jury awarded $14 million in damages to Courtney Webster, and $1 million in damages to her husband, Brian Webster. The case was heard in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.

Legal cases like this one occur around the nation every day and are examples of similar kinds of cases that MyPhillyLawyer attorneys regularly work on tirelessly for our own clients. Often, we are not able to discuss the cases we are actively working on due to confidentiality requirements, so we discuss other relevant cases in the news such as this one to illustrate the legal situations people find themselves in every day.

We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a medical malpractice case, birth injury or any kind of vehicle crash anywhere in the United States.

These kinds of cases are a somber reminder that patients and their families must be vigilant about the medical care they receive so they know what is being done for a patient’s care every step of the way. But at the same time, patients and families aren’t doctors and they can’t know every question to ask. That’s where skilled, expert, compassionate and thorough legal representation is needed by patients and their families who have been harmed by medical malpractice and errors or omissions during their treatment.

We pledge to make sure that you and your family get the dogged and experienced legal representation that you deserve and expect from a professional legal team which works hard to uncover every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award.

We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.

Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-789-9346 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.

When Winning Matters Most, Call MyPhillyLawyer.

 

Listen to Court Radio every Sunday at 7 a.m. with me, attorney Dean Weitzman of MyPhillyLawyer, on Philadelphia’s Old School 100.3 WRNB, Boom 103.9 or on Praise 107.9 WPPZ FM. Listen to Court Radio online or on the radio every week for the latest on legal topics and to get answers to your legal questions. In addition to addressing the topical issues of the day, we’ll answer caller questions on a wide range of legal issues.