$1.75 Million Verdict in Delayed Diagnosis of Cancer Case

Posted By Kinnard, Clayton & Beveridge || Feb 2, 2016

Randall Kinnard and Jenney KeatyKinnard, Clayton & Beveridge’s Nashville medical malpractice lawyers were able to secure a $1.75 million verdict for our client whose breast cancer diagnosis had been delayed.

On Thursday, January 28, 2016, a Rutherford County Jury awarded a $1.75 million verdict in a medical malpractice case. The case was Peggy L. Kellerman and William Kellerman v. Middle Tennessee Medical Center, Inc. (now St Thomas Hospital Rutherford), NO. 65154. It was handled in the Circuit Court for Rutherford County, Tennessee by Judge Walter Kurtz.

Randall L. Kinnard and Jenney Keaty of Kinnard Clayton & Beveridge represented the plaintiff.

The plaintiff, a 72-year-old woman, had a breast biopsy in July 2010 and was told she had no cancer. 11 weeks later, she received the news that the hospital had made a mistake in processing her biopsy, and she really did have breast cancer. Because the hospital admitted that a “mistake” had been made, the judge ruled that the jury was not allowed to hear what the actual mistake was as it was “irrelevant.”

Her prognosis was not changed by the delay in diagnosis. Her cancerous lesion was small (0.2 cm) and had been entirely removed in the biopsy. She received radiation treatments by whole breast radiation, and would have needed the same treatment had she been correctly diagnosed in July.

Our client was Stage I cancer with an extremely high likelihood of survival even after the delay in diagnosis. Experts agreed that that she was, at the time of the trial, cured of her breast cancer. The judge would not allow any testimony about “increased chances of a bad outcome” because the delayed diagnosis did not result in an increased chance of a poor outcome.

The majority of the financial damages awarded to our client were for mental anguish, as the mistake had caused her to worry about her prognosis after an 11 week-delay. She also learned about the mistake through a phone call from the hospital administrator instead of through her own doctor, which added to her mental anguish. In the end, our client was awarded verdict of $1.75 million.

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