A Worcester jury recently returned a verdict for $1.95 million dollars against two doctors practicing out of Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester. The allegations were as follows: in 2003 the Plaintiff went for a lung biopsy at Saint Vincent Hospital. The lung biopsy resulted in a determination that the Plaintiff had cancer. The Plaintiff was concurrently being treated for an immunodeficiency condition, but this information was not relayed from the oncologist to the hematopathologist who ultimately diagnosed the cancer. After detailing to the Plaintiff-patient that he had Stage III cancer, he was advised to undergo chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant.
The patient received multiple cycles of chemotherapy and ultimately received a bone marrow transplant. After weeks of this grueling treatment it was discovered that the patient did not have cancer. His underlying immunodeficiency condition mimicked cancer in the lung. Had the appropriate health care providers communicated and exercised due diligence in the care and treatment of the Plaintiff, his treatment would have been reduced from chemotherapy to a manageable monthly medication. Instead he went through the strenuous process of chemotherapy and an unnecessary bone marrow transplant. The transplant included various complications that ultimately caused the Plaintiff to succumb to a graft versus host disease which resulted in his death.
In awarding the Plaintiff’s estate $1.95 million dollars, the claims were predicated on a medical malpractice cause of action known as lack of informed consent. Under the theory of lack of informed consent, a patient must consent to treatment even in a life threatening situation. In order to recover in an informed consent action, the Plaintiff must prove the duty of the physician to disclose the information to the patient. This is further broken down into four components: Continue reading →