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Did doctor’s failure to diagnose lead to child’s cancer death?


Going to the doctor can be a nerve-wracking experience for Oregon’s residents, especially when an individual is concerned about the appearance of an unexpected lump. These patients rightfully expect their doctors to adequately assess and diagnose their condition, which many times lead to effective treatment. Such treatments may reduce symptoms or even completely remedy the condition, allowing a patient to get back to his or her normal life.

Unfortunately, though, all of this is predicated on a patient receiving an accurate diagnosis. One family is suing their doctor after her alleged failure to diagnose the couple’s child’s cancer. The parents took their daughter to the doctor after they discovered a lump on her buttocks, but their doctor told them it was nothing to worry about and did not place the concern in the child’s medical file. A year later the child was diagnosed with cancer by another doctor. She died from the condition last year. The child’s parents claim that if their daughter was properly diagnosed on that first visit, then she would have beaten the disease.

A misdiagnosis, as in this case, often leads to delayed treatment and thus a worsened medical condition. Victims of such medical malpractice are often left with more physical pain and emotional trauma, and may even have a reduced chance of survival. Making matters worse, these victims often incur additional expenses that may leave them in a financially vulnerable position.

Those who are victimized by a doctor error can seek to recover their losses by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. In the event that the victim dies, his or her family can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Both types of claims require the plaintiff to show negligence caused the victim’s injuries or death before compensation can be awarded. But, once a case is won, a victim or his or her family may find closure, justice and peace of mind knowing that those who acted errantly were held accountable.

Source: West Central Tribune, “Trial is underway in Dickhoff malpractice lawsuit; 7-year-old child died of cancer,” Gretchen Schlosser, June 6, 2014