A breast cancer patient and her spouse recently secured a multimillion-dollar settlement for failure to diagnose her condition.
According to the complaint, the patient, Lisa Leval, and her husband, Gerald, alleged that radiologist Ingrid Ott from Washington Radiology Associates and Dr. Gary Rose failed to diagnose her breast cancer during a routine mammogram in 2011. Dr. Rose was ultimately dismissed as a defendant after it was determined he was not liable.
During the trial, Lisa presented evidence showing her cancer, diagnosed in 2013, was present during the mammogram in 2011. The failure to diagnose allowed the disease to spread, leading to six years of expensive treatment and a reduced life expectancy.
The jury deliberated for two days and found the defendants liable for medical malpractice. Lisa received $14.3 million for her losses. Her husband Greg received $50,000 for future loss of consortium.
Lisa Leval went to Washington Radiology Associates, P.C. in May 2011 for a routine mammogram. Dr. Ingrid Ott, a radiologist at the facility, reviewed the results. She informed Lisa that she didn’t find anything suspicious.
In August 2013, Lisa returned to the radiology center complaining of breast pain. The medical team examined her and conducted a mammogram. The doctors found a lump in Lisa’s right breast and diagnosed her with stage IV ductal carcinoma with metastases to her spine.
Lisa also had HER2-positive breast cancer. The cancer tested positive for human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) protection. The protein makes this form of cancer more aggressive because it promotes cancer cell growth.
Lisa received chemotherapy every three weeks for six years due to her diagnosis.
State law requires healthcare providers to meet a specific standard of care to all patients. The radiologist and facility violated the standard of care by proximately causing harm to Lisa Leval by failing to diagnose her cancer during her initial mammogram in 2011.
Why Are Medical Malpractice Cases So Complex?
According to state law, a patient must prove their injury resulted from a medical provider’s failure to provide the accepted standard of care by establishing these elements:
- The healthcare provider failed to exercise the degree of skill, care, and learning expected of a reasonably prudent medical professional at the time they belonged to the class or profession in the state of Washington acting under the same or similar circumstances.
- The failure proximately caused the injury.
Additionally, the definition of medical malpractice is confusing. It allows different interpretations and arguments.
Since the nature of medicine is complex, substantial evidence is required to prove what happened. Hiring a medical malpractice attorney if you suspect misdiagnosis is crucial. A lawyer could investigate what happened and consult with medical providers in the same field to substantiate the allegations and provide expert opinions on how and why the malpractice occurred.
What Compensation Can I Receive Through a Medical Malpractice Case?
Filing a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit might recover compensation for losses, such as:
- Hospitalization, prescriptions, surgeries, and other medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Out-of-pocket expenses
The diagnosis errors in Lisa Leval’s case led to a $14,350,000 jury verdict. The financial award broken down by losses were:
- Past pain and suffering – $7,500,000
- Future pain and suffering – $2,500,000
- Economic losses – $4,300,000
There are no caps on compensation for economic or non-economic losses in Washington. However, medical malpractice cases in Virginia and Maryland are subject to caps on losses.
The cap on compensation for a Virginia medical malpractice lawsuit is $2.55 million until June 30, 2023.
As of 2023, awards for non-economic losses in a Maryland medical malpractice case can’t exceed $875,000. The limit increases by $15,000 each year. So, if the injury occurred last year, the noneconomic losses cap would be $860,000.
Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney for Help
At The Law Offices of Dr. Michael M. Wilson, M.D., J.D. & Associates, we have the legal and medical qualifications, experience, and resources to handle even the most complicated medical malpractice cases. We will provide the representation and support you need to overcome this challenging ordeal.
If a medical provider’s negligence caused your injury or illness, call or contact us online for a free consultation with a dedicated medical misdiagnosis lawyer.
Dr. Michael M. Wilson is an attorney and a physician who earned his undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his legal and medical degrees from Georgetown University. He has focused in the area of medical malpractice for more than three decades and secured more than $100 million in settlements and verdicts on behalf of clients throughout the country. He is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and New York as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and the U.S. Supreme Court. He is listed in America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators.