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Woman has little time left to live after delayed cancer diagnosis

Jan 8, 2013 | Failure to Diagnose

Many people in New York City and beyond will be diagnosed with cancer this year. While often treatable, a delayed cancer diagnosis can be deadly. One Brooklyn woman has learned this the hard way.

In 2010, a 41-year-old single mother began experiencing severe chest pain. She went to the emergency room at Kings County Hospital. There, doctors told her she was fine and that she should take Motrin to help with the chest pain. For two years, the woman endured a persistent cough. When she returned to the emergency room in the spring of 2012, the woman learned that she had Stage 4 lung cancer. She also discovered that the cancer had spread to her liver, spine and brain.

During her first visit to the emergency room, a chest X-ray revealed a small nodule on the woman’s right lung. However, that information was never passed on to the woman. The woman’s cancer likely would have been treatable if it had been caught early on. However, doctors have told her she has between six months to a year to live.

"Doctors need to be more careful and realize they have the lives of their patients in their hands," the woman said.

What makes this story even more tragic is that the woman has a 15-year-old daughter who is mentally disabled and autistic. The woman wonders what will happen to her daughter when she is gone.

The woman has filed a Notice of Claim. She may end up filing a lawsuit against the city for the failures of many doctors along the way. However, the woman says she would much rather have her health than any amount of money.

Stories like this are difficult to hear about. However, it shows what can happen when doctors fail to properly diagnose and treat their patients. Others who experience similar forms of negligence would be wise to consider their legal options.

Source: New York Daily News, "Hospital’s mistake leaves single Brooklyn mom with 6 months to live," Heidi Evans, Jan. 6, 2013