Cancer Misdiagnosis Results in Wrongful Death Lawsuit

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By: Staff Writers | Published: April 2nd, 2010

A medical malpractice lawsuit has been filed against a West Virginia doctor and hospitals for giving chemotherapy to a man who did not actually have cancer. 

The cancer misdiagnosis lawsuit was filed on March 9 in Cabell Circuit Court by Beverly Rakes, whose husband, Scotty Rakes, died on March 13, 2008 due to complications from chemotherapy. According to a report in the West Virgnia Record, the complaint alleges that Rakes was diagnosed as having cancer in his larynx by Dr. Safique Ahmed at his practice in Huntington, West Virginia.

The lawsuit named Ahmed, Cabell Huntington Hospital, Logan Hematology & Oncology and the Marshall University Board of Governors as defendants.

According to the complaint, Ahmed made the cancer diagnosis error in November 2007 after a CT scan of Rakes’ abdomen and a full body PET scan. He treated Rakes with chemotherapy in January and February of 2008.

Rakes sought a second opinion in late February from Dr. Wade Douglas at Cabell Huntington Hospital’s Edwards Cancer Center, who performed a laryngoscopy and determined that Rakes’ larynx and upper esophagus were normal and that there was nothing on which to perform a biopsy.

However, the lawsuit alleges that Ahmed continued to treat Rakes with chemotherapy in early March. Days later, Rakes was diagnosed with neutrapenia secondary to chemotherapy. He was taken to Logan General hospital and died shortly afterward.

Rakes’ wife is seeking an unspecified amount of compensatory damages in the wrongful death lawsuit and says that Ahmed violated standards of care without properly confirming that Rakes had cancer before giving him chemotherapy.

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