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Testing wrong knee leads to suit for failure to diagnose cancer

Failure to diagnose is a common cause of medical malpractice in Maryland and other states. When it is a substantial factor in causing an injury or increased harm to a patient, the careless medical providers can be liable to the patient for damages. In one recent filing, the plaintiff has sued two doctors and a medical clinic for failure to diagnose a cancerous tumor.

The lawsuit claims that the patient’s problems began in 2009 with experiences of pain and loss of motion in her left knee. She was treated by one of the defendant doctors, who found cancer-related concerns in an x-ray of the left knee. However, the suit alleges that the doctor then carelessly ordered an MRI of the right knee instead of the cancerous left knee.

That doctor relied on an MRI of the wrong knee to continually misdiagnose and treat the patient. The plaintiff was not relieved of symptoms and was compelled to seek other assistance. She went to an orthopedic clinic in Cincinnati, but the doctor there, who is also a defendant in the suit, is alleged to have also based his diagnosis and treatment on the wrong MRI.

The second doctor repeatedly made the same mistake, according to the lawsuit. The plaintiff then sought treatment with a third doctor who spotted problem on an x-ray and sent her to an orthopedic tumor specialist. This led ultimately to a diagnosis of bone cancer of the left knee. However, the lawsuit alleges that by that time the tumor had increased substantially and the disease had spread to the lungs as Stage III cancer.

The suit claims that the delay of seven months was likely fatal. This is because her chances of survival went from 70 percent when the tumor was only in her knee to 30 percent by the time it reached the lungs. In Maryland and all jurisdictions, failure to diagnose cancer is not particularly uncommon. Failure to find a potentially fatal disease that should reasonably have been found results in some of the largest settlements and verdicts in the law of medical negligence.

Source:, "Coldwater woman files medical malpractice lawsuit", Greg Sowinski, July 22, 2014

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