Cancer Misdiagnosis Lawsuit Filed Against Illinois Doctor, Hospital

An Illinois man has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against a doctor who allegedly failed to diagnose cancer, instead telling him he had a cyst. 

The complaint was filed by Paul Earnhart, of O’Fallon, and his wife Patricia, on July 6 in Madison County Circuit Court in Illinois. The misdiagnosis lawsuit names Dr. William Drake, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Hospital Sisters Health System as defendants.

Earnhart says that a lump was removed from his neck in July 2009 by Dr. Jeffrey Fierstein, who sent a tissue sample to Dr. Drake, who analyzed it and told Earnhart that it was an infected cyst. However, the complaint claims it was actually cancer, which Drake missed in his analysis.

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The lump later returned and spread to Earnhart’s tongue and lymph nodes, requiring him to undergo cancer treatment as a result.

Early cancer diagnosis is important in nearly all forms of the disease, as treatment options may not be available or as likely to succeed if time elapses because of a cancer misdiagnosis. Patients diagnosed with many forms of cancer in their early stages who receive proper treatment have a much better prognosis, with the possibility of a full cure if all of the cancerous cells can be completely removed from the body. In later stages, many cancers spread throughout the body, making them more difficult to treat and reducing the odds of survivability.


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