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Misreading CT scan costs $15 million

Although medical technology is designed to preserve life, human error with its use can jeopardize health. In one recent personal injury case, a federal court jury in Indiana awarded $15 million to a woman who charged that a Carmel imaging center committed malpractice and reduced her chances of successfully combating cancer by failing to identify a tumor that went undetected and untreated for 1½ years.

The plaintiff and her husband sued the Minnesota-based diagnostic center in Oct. 2016. They alleged that it was responsible for the doctor who did not identify a tumor after she underwent a CT scan in Nov. 2014. They charged that the tumor remained undiagnosed until May 2016 and that the center was negligent.

The plaintiffs argued that their substandard care allowed her rectal cancer to spread and reduced the chances of her surviving the disease. This altered her options for successful treatment and caused her acute pain, suffering and emotional agony.

Before the filing of her lawsuit, she was diagnosed with a type of stage 4 cancer which has a 10 percent survival rate over 10 years. She is currently receiving chemotherapy treatment.

The defendant denied responsibility, that it was a medical provider or operated the center. It said that it gave management services to the Indiana professional corporation that provided diagnostic imaging services at the center's location.

However, this position removed defendant from the limit on damages held by medical providers when they select malpractice coverage under the state's Medical Malpractice Act. If this law covered defendant, its damages would have been limited to $1.25 million.

The jury reached its verdict on June 8 after a four-day trial. It awarded $14 million to the patient and $1 million to her husband.

A personal injury attorney can help assure that victims of malpractice and their families obtain evidence and pursue their rights to compensation. They can also protect their interests in trials or settlement negotiations.

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