Verdicts obtained in medical malpractice lawsuits for failure to diagnose cancer are invariably misleading because every cancer misdiagnosis case is different. Most delayed cancer diagnosis cases do not warrant a medical malpractice case. But, clearly, some do.
Below is a list of cancer malpractice verdicts we have collected from around the state, using primarily reported jury verdicts. The purpose of listing these verdicts below is to give Maryland cancer misdiagnosis claimants a chance to take a look at the type of cases in which juries have found an error in the failure to diagnose or treat cancer. Most of these are jury verdicts, but jury verdicts are certainly informative.
You can also find verdicts for specific types of cancers in the box on the right below.
These verdicts can give you a real feel for the flavor of the value of successful cases. What they cannot do is tell you the value of your case or the chances of winning your case. Any lawsuit, but particularly these cases, are going to be very fact-specific.
If you have a potential cancer misdiagnosis claim, call us at 800-553-8082 or get a free, confidential online consultation here.
Venue: Prince George’s County
Type of Case: Failure to Diagnose Uterus Cancer
Summary: Plaintiff, a 41-year old female, has a history of fibroids and heavy menstrual bleeding. Defendant OB/GYN performs a hysterectomy and sends tissue samples to pathology. A pathologist calls the OB/GYN to report that some of the slides are being sent to Hopkins because they are suspicious for cancer. The Hopkins pathologist diagnoses a "smooth muscle tumor of uncertain malignant potential" and recommends close clinical follow-up. Defendant OB/GYN does essentially no clinical follow-up and 2.5 years later the plaintiff is diagnosed with uterus cancer that ha spread to her lungs. Plaintiff sues alleging that the OB/GYN was negligent in failing to conduct follow-up, including periodic CT scans that would have led to a timely diagnosis.
Venue: Baltimore County
Type of Case: Failure to Identify Kidney Cancer on CT Scans
Summary: A man in 80s experiences unexplained weight loss and night sweating. He gets several CT scans with contrast of his abdomen and pelvis. An employee at Advanced Radiology interprets the CT scans as normal so the the patient is cleared. About 2 years later, however, the patient is diagnosed with metastatic kidney cancer. He dies 40 days after his diagnosis. His estate brings a wrongful death and survival action against Advanced Radiology claiming that they misinterpreted the CT scans and negligently failed to diagnose the patient’s kidney cancer. A jury awarded $495,000. This is a stunningly low verdict in a wrongful death case. (Update: In 2019, a lawyer in a nursing home case has thrown this verdict in our faces at a mediation trying discount the settlement value of a death case with a man in his 80s.) So the low amount of the award is likely because the patient was older when he died. But who knows? It makes no sense and you are not going to see this very often no matter how old the victim was.
Venue: Charles County
Summary: An 81-year-old female goes to the defendant to have a basal cell carcinoma on her nose removed. The doctor completes the surgery and tells the woman that he has removed the cancer and recommends close observation of her nose every three to six months, even though the pathology report regarding the removed tissue shows that the margins of the carcinoma are unclear. Eighteen months later, doctor notices redness and recommends a biopsy, which shows that the cancer remained. The plaintiff has a micrographic surgery to remove the remaining cancer. This is a six stage surgery, involving removal of the skin on the woman and four reconstructive surgeries to rebuild it. The plaintiff alleges the doctor should have recommended additional surgery at the time and paid closer attention to the pathology report. A jury awards the woman $400,000
Venue: Carroll County
Type of Case: Dermatologist skin cancer
Summary: A 94-year-old retired gentleman visits his dermatologist numerous times for three years with complaints of a lesion on his nose. On eight separate occasions, the dermatologist freezes the lesion with liquid nitrogen, but it never goes away. He is subsequently diagnosed with invasive squamous cell carcinoma and undergoes a partial rhinectomy, the surgical removal of part of his nose. The man and his wife filed suit against the dermatologist, alleging that had a timely biopsy been performed, the cancer would have been diagnosed earlier. His wife files a loss of consortium claim. Defendant contends that the standard of care was met. Sadly, before trial, the man dies of unrelated causes. The jury sides with the Plaintiffs and awards $64,963 in past medical costs, 13,112 in future medical costs, and $75,000 in non-economic damages. Clearly, the fact that plaintiff died from an unrelated complication was a mitigating factor in the low damage award.
Venue: Montgomery County
Type of Case: Rectal cancer misdiagnosis
Summary: A 30-year-old woman visited her family physician with concerns of blood in her stool and rectal bleeding. The physician referred her to a gastroenterologist who then performed a colonoscopy. The gastroenterologist informed the woman that she did not have cancer. Unfortunately, she does have cancer, and the colonoscopy should have caught it. Her symptoms continued unabated. After an incredible almost two years and multiple physician visits later, she was diagnosed with rectal cancer. Unfortunately, the diagnosis came too late, and she passed away. Her family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the gastroenterologist alleging that at the time of the initial physician visit, the decedent showed clear signs of colorectal cancer. They claimed the defendant’s failure to timely diagnose allowed the cancer to metastasize, resulting in the woman's death. Defendant argued what defendants argue when they cannot say they did not screw up: causation. He contended that any delay in the diagnosis did not result in the woman's death and that he had worked appropriately within the standard of care. After hearing both arguments, a Montgomery County jury found for the Plaintiffs and awarded them $5,778,624.
Venue: Hartford County
Type of Case: Ovarian cancer misdiagnosis
A Hartford County woman visited her OB/GYN for her annual visit. The physical examination showed her uterus had grown but gave no diagnosis. She returned the following year, and the physician noted that the uterus had grown to an even larger size. She was once again sent on her way not to return for another year. During her third visit, she expressed that she was experiencing discomfort in her abdomen and a swollen uterus; the physician then advised that she consider a hysterectomy. She returned two months later complaining of increased pelvic pressure. Finally, the physician ordered an ultrasound which showed a large mass in both her ovaries and uterus. After a series of tests and a hysterectomy, she was ultimately diagnosed with ovarian cancer. The woman sued the OB/GYN for medical malpractice for failing to diagnose the presence for more than two years. She alleged the Defendant's failure to adhere to a standard of care resulted in a poor prognosis. Defendant denied liability and maintained that the actions were within the standard of care. The parties ultimately agreed to settle for $650,000.
Venue: Prince George’s County
Type of Case: Radiologist Missed Lung Cancer on Chest X-Ray
Summary: An 83-year-old woman went to the hospital with chest pain. A chest X-ray was interpreted by the radiologist as normal. Four months later, she returns with a 3 cm mass in her lung. Diagnosed with Stage III lung cancer, she began chemotherapy and radiation therapy but died two years later.
Type of Case: Communication error between doctors that lead to the failure to remove an untreated mole
Verdict: $5.8 million.
Summary: A 47-year-old attorney died of cancer as a result of an untreated mole, which turned out to be skin cancer, that tragically spread to the man's brain. The patient had a mole on his back examined in 1998 by a dermatologist who suggested it be removed. But the patient testified before his death that no one had ever told him. His primary-care doctor and his dermatologist each believed the other had removed the mole. This mole was examined by another doctor in 2004, but the patient's doctor did not remove it until 2006. Plaintiff's expert testified that if the mole had been removed in 2004, the man would have "had a 95% chance of a complete cure." Because Maryland has a maximum cap
on pain and suffering damages in medical malpractice cases, the award will be reduced to $3.6 million. Plaintiff made a failed attempt to back door the cap on noneconomic damages.
Venue: Baltimore City
Type of Case: Failure to Diagnose Breast Cancer
Verdict: $7,000,000: subject to Maryland cap on damages in medical malpractice cases. (No offer was made to settle the case before the jury's verdict.)
Summary: A 52-year-old woman whose radiologist failed to order anything beyond a screening mammogram, that her prescription noted a left breast abnormality. The technologist noticed the order was "internally inconsistent" and told the radiologist, who still ordered no further diagnostic tests. As a result, the plaintiff's breast cancer progressed from a treatable stage "2B" to likely-to-recur stage"3B."
Venue: Baltimore City
Type of Case: Failure to Diagnose Malignant Tumor on Left Knee
Verdict: $ 11,003,000, including $ 3,000 for funeral expenses, subject to Maryland cap on damages in medical malpractice cases.
Summary: Patient was a 54-year-old woman died when a lump on her knee was misdiagnosed at University Hospital (University of Maryland Medical System). Nature of the lump could have been diagnosed with a simple x-ray three years earlier.
Venue: Baltimore City
Type of Case: Abdominal Cancer
Verdict: $4,414,195, including $ 3,000,000 for non-economic damages, or $1,959,195 once the award was reduced consistent with the cap on non-economic damages (reversed by appellate court).
Summary: Failure to diagnose and treat cancer of the retroperitoneum (posterior portion of the abdominal cavity) by patient's treating general practitioner. Classic Cancer Misdiagnosis Cases
- Failure to have a biopsy to determine if growth is cancerous to determine whether or not a growth was malignant;
- Failure to conduct blood or esophageal tests made on patients in cases where symptoms warranted testing;
- Failure to refer to a specialist for further evaluation;
- Failure to communicate with other treating physicians for treatment plan;
- Failure to order x-rays that would have diagnosed the growth or suggested additional testing;
- Failure to separate tissue samples from biopsy for pathological analysis;
- Failure to make a cystoscopic examination of a patient;
- Failure of the pathologist to property prepare tissue sample slide
- Get more settlements and verdicts against oncologists
- Read about claims against urologists who miss signs and symptoms of cancer
- Get more information on how medical malpractice and wrongful death claim are valued
- Asbestos cancer cases
- Product liability cancer cases: morcellators and uterine cancer
- More products causing cancer? Roundup pesticides
- Overview of Maryland malpractice claims
If you believe you may have a medical negligence case, call our lawyers at 1-800-553-8082 or click here for a free online consultation.