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Lung cancer diagnosis could have come years earlier

When patients go to the hospital to seek medical advice or treatment, they likely trust that the medical professionals they interact with will provide thorough care. Some Maryland patients may be able to understand one woman's frustrations when she learned that an oversight may have led to her terminal illness.

Nearly three years ago, this single mother went to the hospital with chest pain. She had several tests done, including an EKG and a chest x-ray. The physician she saw that day told her to take pain medication and "follow up with your doctor." While this single mother continued to have medical problems over the next few years, she was repeatedly told by medical professionals that she was fine.

That is, until she received a diagnosis of Stage 4 lung cancer last spring, more than two years after she initially went to the hospital with chest pain. When she received this diagnosis, the cancer had already spread to her brain, spine and liver. She was told that she had one year of life left at the most.

Now, this single mother of a severely autistic teenager is worried about what will happen to her daughter after she dies. She has named a guardian, but friends report that the mother worries her daughter could land in an institution as she requires intensive care and is unable to speak.

This mother is now suing the hospital for their failure to diagnose her lung cancer during one of her earlier appointments. While this mother states that she would rather have her health back than money, a lawsuit like this could benefit her daughter and help others who have been misdiagnosed to advocate for their rights.

Source: New York Daily News, "Hospital's mistake leaves single Brooklyn mom with 6 months to live," Heidi Evans, Jan. 6, 2013

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