Breast Cancer Misdiagnosis Lawsuit in Iowa Remanded on Appeal for Trial

A woman who filed a breast cancer misdiagnosis lawsuit alleging that her doctors’ negligence allowed her cancer to spread during a six-month delay, will be allowed to continue with her medical malpractice lawsuit after the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that her complaint was filed within the state’s statute of limitations.

Pamela Rock filed her lawsuit in October 2004, alleging that her doctors failed to adequately examine, properly diagnose and treat cancer in her left breast following the detection of a lump in May 2002.

The complaint alleges that the medical negligence of the doctors and their employers allowed the cancer to spread to six of her lymph nodes.

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Rock did not discover that the lump was cancerous until she made an appointment with another doctor in October 2002.

After the misdiagnosis lawsuit was filed, the lower courts dismissed Rock’s case when the defendants argued that it was barred by the Iowa medical malpractice statute of limitations, since it was not filed within two years of when she was notified she had a lump in May 2002.

In an opinion issued last Friday, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that because Rock did not know she had cancer until October 2002, her claim was not barred since she filed suit within two years of that date.

Every state has a different statute of limitations which requires that any medical malpractice lawsuit or other legal claim be brought within a certain amount of time.

The Iowa medical malpractice statute of limitations requires that any case be filed within two years of reasonable discovery of the act giving rise to the claim, but no more than six years total after the medical mistake or wrongful act.

Although Rock had been notified that a lump was found, since the complaint alleges that she was told the mammogram was normal and that she did not need to worry about the lump, the state Supreme Court found that it was reasonable that she would not be aware of the medical mistake until she was finally diagnosed properly in October 2002.

The case will now be remanded back to the lower court for trial.


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