A Berks County, Pennsylvania medical malpractice jury awarded $9.6 million to a now 15-year-old girl whose cervical cancer was not timely diagnosed. The Pennsylvania medical malpractice trial lasted eight days before the jury deliberated for two days prior to rendering its verdict against the defendant hospital.
The young girl first went to the defendant hospital at age 9 in 2014, complaining of vaginal bleeding. However, her cervical cancer was not diagnosed until 2016, when she was eleven. The plaintiff’s pretrial memorandum reportedly stated, in part: “There was a significant delay in diagnosing cancer from her initial presentation/complaint of vaginal bleeding in 2014 by her primary care providers. There were multiple missed opportunities to diagnose and treat her cancer at a much earlier time by various providers [In 2015 she presented to several Emergency Room providers with identical complaints]. This was clearly a very aggressive cancer as noted by the aggressive biology of clear cell cancers as well as the progression of recurrence in this patient. One of the best prognosticator of good outcomes with this type of cancer is the absence of lymph node involvement at time of diagnosis.”
“Unfortunately, due to the calamity of errors made by L.M.’s primary providers and at Reading Hospital’s Emergency Room, L.M.’s very treatable cancer was permitted to progress unchecked to a very advanced stage. The care that L.M. has required due to her advanced stage cancer is nothing short of horrific, having to eventually undergo pelvic exenteration, a procedure wherein her bowel, bladder, rectum, anus and vagina were removed. L.M.’s cancer is terminal and she in unlikely to live past her 25th birthday, however she continues to fight the cancer having undergone experimental treatments to prolong her life.”
The defendant hospital denied “that any actions or inactions [by its doctors] constitute negligence and/or that any alleged negligence either caused or increased the risk of harm to LM” and alleged that “L.M.’s condition did not require an ultrasound.”
The plaintiff’s Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney stated after the verdict: “The jury saw through a defense that was focused on blaming the family and blaming other individuals and recognized that she was just where she needed to be to have her cancer diagnosed at an earlier stage, where it would have made a significant difference for this little girl.”
The American Cancer Society’s estimates for cervical cancer in the United States for 2019 are about 13,170 new cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed and about 4,250 women will die from cervical cancer. Cervical cancer tends to occur in midlife and is most frequently diagnosed in women between the ages of 35 and 44; it rarely develops in women younger than 20.
If you or a family member may be the victim of cervical cancer misdiagnosis in Pennsylvania or in another U.S. state, you should promptly consult with a Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney, or a medical malpractice attorney in your state, who may investigate your cervical cancer misdiagnosis claim for you and represent you or your family member in a cancer misdiagnosis medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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