Lawsuit Claims That X-ray Misinterpretation Led to Woman’s Death

Many of the medical malpractice lawsuits filed in Philadelphia deal with botched surgical procedures or incorrect dosages of medication being given to patients. Yet what about those cases that deal with a doctor’s failure to act? Can a doctor be punished for something that he or she didn’t do?

Many often underestimate the importance of the diagnostic side of medicine. Without an accurate diagnosis, it’s impossible to deliver the therapeutic treatment needed to address an injury or ailment. While diagnosing patients is an inexact science, doctors have been provided with tools designed to make determining an accurate diagnosis much easier. A misuse or misinterpretation of these tools could be viewed by some as doctor negligence.

A Massachusetts jury agreed with this assertion when it was made in lawsuit filed on behalf of a woman who died of lung cancer. Despite representatives of the hospital named in this lawsuit claiming that the woman’s cancer was already at an incurable stage when it was discovered, the jury sided with the plaintiff’s claim that a doctor’s misinterpretation of an earlier x-ray of the woman’s lungs contributed to her death. The woman originally presented to the hospital’s emergency department in 2006 complaining of a chronic cough. After reviewing an x-ray taken during that visit, the doctor diagnosed her with a simple respiratory infection. Months later, a CT scan revealed cancer in advanced stages in her lungs. She died seven months later.

A failure to diagnose a condition can result in a delay in treatment that could potentially mean the difference between the life and death of patient. Those who suffer from such errors may have cause to sue the doctors whose diagnostic skills failed them. A personal injury attorney may of great assistance in filing such a lawsuit.

Source:, “Jury awards $16.7M in Boston malpractice suit,” June 30, 2014

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