On Thursday, January 31, 2008, a Fairfax County jury returned a verdict in the amount of $1,000,000 in favor of one of our clients in a delayed diagnosis of cancer medical malpractice case.

The case involved the care that a 45 year old man received from his non-board certified Internist for complaints of rectal bleeding for three years.

The Internist, having performed a flexible sigmoidoscopy, was convinced that the source of the bleeding was hemorroids. We claimed that there was no evidence that the source of the bleeding was hemorrhoids and that the patient should have been referred out to a gastroenterologist for further treatment and a colonoscopy.

The three year delay cost the patient a chance to have his pre-cancerous lesion (polyp) removed with a simple procedure. In the end, he underwent major surgery to remove a part of his rectum. The surgery left him with an almost total loss of sexual function, bowel dysfunction and scarring. He also underwent radiation therapy and almost a year of chemotherpay.

Teaching points:

1. Why see a non-board certified physician? There is a reason that there are certification processes in place. (There is a national certification process for trial lawyers as well!)

2. Rectal bleeding can be very, very serious. If in doubt, get a colonoscopy, it is the 'gold standard' for discovering rectal cancer.

3. Colon and rectal cancer is slow growing, thus, early detection is very important and affords the best chance of a 100% total cure from cancer.

4. The insurance company (there is an insurance company behind almost every medical malpractice case) did not offer any money to settle the case, thus subjecting their doctor to four days of scrutiny.

5. Each case is different and must be evaluated on its own merits. This verdict does not represent what you may recover in your case.

If you believe you have a case of medical malpractice, you should first read my book, Why Most Malpractice Victims Never Recover a Dime.

Before you call a lawyer, please read The Truth About Lawyer Advertising.
Ben Glass
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Ben Glass is a nationally recognized Virginia injury, medical malpractice, and long-term disability attorney
Ben: Great verdict. Keep up the good work.
by Mike Phelan November 17, 2008 at 01:47 PM
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