On June 8, 2016, a Pennsylvania medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in favor of the defendant doctor, after only a short period of jury deliberations following a medical malpractice trial that lasted a little over one week, finding that the plaintiff had failed to prove that the defendant urologist was responsible for the lung cancer death of his 47-year-old patient who had been a life-long smoker and continued to smoke even after she was diagnosed and was being treated with chemotherapy for small cell lung cancer.
The woman had been a pack-and-a-half-a-day cigarette smoker since she was 12 years old. In 2005, she was found to have blood in her urine during a routine pap smear. She was referred to the defendant urologist for further evaluation and work up.
The plaintiff’s Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawsuit claimed that the defendant urologist had negligently stopped performing certain important medical tests for more than a year during 2008 into 2009, after which she was diagnosed with cancer in February 2009.
After her cancer was discovered, she underwent aggressive cancer treatment that included removal of a kidney and several rounds of chemotherapy. Her cancer returned in July 2009 and she died from cancer on July 7, 2010.
The Pennsylvania cancer misdiagnosis lawsuit alleged that the defendant urologist breached the standard of care by stopping the necessary medical testing for more than one year, despite the woman continuing to have blood in her urine and continuing to be under his care, claiming that the defendant “dropped the ball.”
The defense argued that the defendant had met the standard of care and that the woman’s death was not due to medical negligence but was due to the aggressive nature of her lung cancer. The defense pointed to the plaintiff continuing to smoke heavily after she was diagnosed with cancer, further alleging that the plaintiff falsely told the defendant that she had reduced her smoking to only a few cigarettes per day.
Hence, the Pennsylvania medical malpractice jury was faced with deciding whether the defendant urologist committed medical malpractice that led to the woman’s death or if the woman contributed to her own death by having smoked heavily for so long and by failing to follow her doctor’s order to stop smoking after her cancer diagnosis. The defense attorney told the jury during closing argument, “The choices that you make in this life, you have to be responsible for. That’s all we’re asking for here. The cause of [the woman’s] demise was her smoking.”
It appears that the Pennsylvania medical malpractice jury agreed with the defense.
If you or a loved one were injured as a result of the misdiagnosis of cancer in Pennsylvania or elsewhere in the United States, you should promptly consult with a Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyer, or a medical malpractice lawyer in your U.S. state, who may investigate your cancer misdiagnosis claim for you and represent you in a cancer malpractice case, if appropriate.
Visit our website or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959 to be connected with cancer malpractice attorneys in your U.S. state who may assist you.
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