A Nevada jury has returned a verdict of $2.5 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit filed by the family of a woman who died as a result her doctor’s misdiagnosis of cancer, which caused a delay in treatment which could have greatly improved her chances of survival.
The misdiagnosis lawsuit was filed by the family of Elisa Sanchez, who was 24 years old when she went to her doctor in 2004 complaining about blood in her stool and pain.
During that visit and subsequent appointments, Sanchez was repeatedly misdiagnosed as having hemorrhoids, causing her colon and rectal cancer to go undiagnosed for seven months.
The jury found that the doctor’s negligent failure to diagnose the cancer, order tests or make a referral to a specialist contributed to Sanchez’s 2007 death at the age of 27.
At trial, the family argued that if the doctor had properly diagnosed her cancer when Sanchez first visited him, she would have had a 97% chance of survival and that the delay reduced her chances to 50%.
Given the progressive nature of most cancers, prompt diagnosis and treatment can have a substantial impact on a patient’s ability to survive. Cancer misdiagnosis lawsuits often hinge on the plaintiff’s ability to establish that the delay had an impact on their odds of fighting the disease.
The Clark County District Court jury’s award included over $2 million in economic losses to the family, for loss of future wages and other financial damages. The verdict for pain and suffering was capped at $350,000 under the Nevada medical malpractice damages cap for non-economic damages.