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Patient Awarded $367,500 Through An Unusual Twist Of Medical Malpractice

The most common types of medical malpractice cases that involve cancer are due to a failure to timely diagnose the cancer and, consequently, not catching the disease in its earlier stages, which delays vital treatment. However, in a recent medical malpractice case reported in the Houston Chronicle, Herlinda Garcia, a woman living in Victoria, Texas received seven months of chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer based on a wrong diagnosis ― a misread lab result. While she did not know she was cancer-free, she meanwhile prepared to die by arranging for hospice care, giving away belongings and making other end-of-life preparations.

Garcia had received surgery to remove a benign tumor in her breast in 2009, a month before her oncologist misread the imaging scan that lead to the misdiagnosis of malignant cancer. However, later in 2011, when the Citizens Medical Center was treating her for anxiety, physicians at the center performed some scans to obtain updated information about her cancer status. One physician who doubted the accuracy of the original diagnosis had further testing done at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. M.D. Anderson confirmed that the 2009 diagnosis was incorrect, and that the patient had been cancer-free since the 2009 mastectomy.

While tremendously relieved to discover she did not have cancer, the pain, suffering and mental anguish she endured led Garcia to sue her oncologist, Dr. Ahmad I. Qadri. The jury awarded her $367,700 in damages. Even so, in medical malpractice cases, Texas law caps awards for non-economic damages at $250,000 under the Medical Malpractice and Tort Reform Act. Consequently, the award went to review for compliance with Texas law.

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