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Lawsuit claims doctors missed signs and symptoms of man's cancer

For many in Providence, finding proof that they or their loves ones were the victims of medical malpractice may seem to be relatively easy. After all, they have the results of the malpractice to show as evidence of its occurrence, and they may also have recollections of even documented proof of the doctor errors that contributed it. Yet actually using that evidence to prove that negligence occurred is another matter entirely. Doctors aren’t often keen on fessing up for their mistakes, and the healthcare industry as a whole is often very protective of its own. Should one choose to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit, he or she may find him or herself fighting not just an individual provider, but an entire hospital or clinical network.

A New Mexico woman currently finds herself embroiled in such a fight. Her husband, a renowned Native American activist and former movie actor, died of cancer in 2012. In her lawsuit, the woman alleges that doctors failed to recognize the presence of esophageal cancer in her husband despite his obvious signs of distress, including coughing up blood. Instead, the providers who saw him attributed the symptoms to an enlarged tonsil, apparently ignoring the fact that the man has allegedly had his tonsils removed as a boy. The failure to diagnose the cancer initially led to the disease spreading throughout the rest of his body before it was finally detected.

Despite this seemingly damning evidence against the providers in this case, the state medical review commission voted unanimously that the doctors had done nothing wrong. Yet such an opinion can’t stop the victims of medical malpractice from initiating legal action against an allegedly negligent physician. Those needing help to initiate such action may first want to speak with a medical malpractice attorney. 

Source: Reuters “Widow of American Indian activist sues doctors over his death” Keith Coffman, June 26, 2014

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