Timing is everything when making a cancer diagnosis. Mistakes regarding the type, location, stage and underlying condition of the cancer can make the difference between life and death.  Having litigated a wide spectrum of of medical malpractice cases involving cancer misdiagnosis, Berkowitz and Hanna LLC can attest that doctors are not incapable of making negligent and/or reckless mistakes. A recent cancer misdiagnosis in Illinois reported in the LaSalle News Tribune, resulted in a jury awarding a Peru family $1.7M for the premature death of cancer patient Daniel Gapinski.

In 2007, the 49-year-old man underwent surgery to remove a mass located near his pituitary gland. According to the neuropathologist at Central Illinois Pathology, tests indicated that the mass was a benign meningioma and, based on these test results, the doctor did not order any chemotherapy or extensive radiation treatment for the next two years.  In late 2008, the patient’s symptoms returned and it was determined that he had kidney cancer which had metastasized to his brain.  While undergoing treatment in 2009, doctors at the University of Chicago reviewed the original pathology tests and concluded that the results did not in fact indicate benign meningioma, but instead led to a diagnosis of renal cell carcinoma.  Mr. Gapinski died in May 2009.

His family filed a medical malpractice suit against Central Illinois Pathology, claiming that Mr. Gapinski—though terminally ill—died prematurely, because of the misdiagnosis, which prevented him from receiving treatment that could have prolonged his life.  The jury awarded the total sum of $1.7 million for the survival claim, wrongful death claim and for his wife’s loss of consortium.

Berkowitz and Hanna LLC notes that roughly 12 percent of cancer patients in the United State are initially misdiagnosed.

Note: Berkowitz and Hanna LLC did not represent any of the parties in this case.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.