When Medical Mistreatment Proves Fatal

Scartelli Olszewski P.C.

When it comes to surviving cancer, the importance of early detection is one of the few things we can say that “everybody knows” about one of our country’s most deadly diseases. The often unspoken corollary to “early detection” is “and treatment.” You wouldn’t think anyone would need to say that part. If you detect cancer early, of course your doctor is going to treat it. Right?Maybe not. And that difference could cost you your life. It cost Ellen Weiss Kander hers.In September 2007, Kander’s physicians identified a lesion of 1.9 centimeters – nearly an inch – after performing a CT scan on her liver. Kander’s oncologist advised against a biopsy, as long as she remained symptom free. He told her that they would conduct an additional scan within the next year to see if the lesion was changing or growing. That second scan never took place. In fact, it wasn’t until May 2011, almost four years after the original scan, that another CT scan at the Mayo Clinic revealed that Kander’s small lesion had grown into a softball-sized tumor. Kander was dead within a year. Had more aggressive treatment for liver cancer begun in 2007, there still is no certainty that Kander would have been “cured” of her cancer. But she would have had much more of a fighting chance, and she might be alive today. In April 2015, a jury in Pittsburgh agreed. Finding Kander’s oncologist and the facilities where he worked guilty of professional negligence and wrongful death, they awarded Kander’s family $5.7 million in damages. There are many fields where professionals can be guilty of negligence. When a plumber is guilty of negligence, you may wind up with a flooded basement. When a physician is guilty of negligence, however, you can wind up permanently injured, disabled, chronically ill … or dead. The legal team at Scartelli Olszewski has the knowledge and experience to identify and thoroughly investigate medical malpractice. We can recognize the difference between an unfortunate downturn in a patient’s health and a mismanaged course of treatment that could indicate negligence in medical treatment. If you or a loved one has suffered needlessly because of a medical error, contact our office. We can help you understand your medical malpractice legal options.