Jury awards $3.5 million in “failure to diagnose” cancer medical malpractice lawsuit

A Texas jury has awarded a $3.5 million medical malpractice award to the family of a young woman, Melissa Hendricks, who died of cancer finding that her physicians were negligent in not diagnosing her cancer. Because of Texas law, the award will be reduced to $1.5 million which will be shared among the woman’s family including her father, husband and two young children.

According to an article in the Denton Record-Chronicle, Melissa Hendricks, who was 33 at the time, discovered a bump on her head. When the bump was still there after a month she went to Highland Family Medical Center where Dr. Stephen Glaser misdiagnosed it as a sebaceous cyst which is non-cancerous. A week later when Glaser’s physician’s assistant Jason Maris, removed the cyst, he did not send it to a laboratory for testing.

A year later, the Hendrick’s lesion returned and Hendricks saw Dr. Jeffrey Charney, a surgeon, who opted not to remove the lesion because Hendricks was pregnant at the time. When she returned later, the lesion had grown substantially and Charney diagnosed it as sarcoma. Hendricks died less than a year after this cancer diagnosis.

The jury found that both physicians were negligent and assigned each 45% of the blame. The jury assigned Hendricks 10% of the blame because she waited one month before seeing a physician even though she knew her family had a history of cancer.

It is critical that cancer be diagnosed it its most early stages because early detection provides for a broader array of treatment options and patients have a better prognosis and a chance for a cure.

In Washington state, a health care provider is negligent if he or she “failed to exercise that degree of care, skill and learning expected of a reasonably prudent health care provider.” In Hendricks case, it was reasonable to expect that the lesion be biopsied the first time it was removed.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured by medical malpractice and the families of those that have died. With our help, you may recover compensation for your damages. Washington state has a wrongful death statute which allows the a family to file a civil suit on behalf of their deceased loved one.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or attorney@hgfarber.com to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. We have offices in Seattle and Bellevue to assist you.