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Man dies after cancer misdiagnosis

New York residents might be interested in a recent medical malpractice lawsuit filed by the widow of a well-known American Indian activist. The man, who was the former leader for the American Indian Movement, died at the age of 72 after he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. According to documents filed by his widow, a delayed cancer diagnosis contributed to the man's death.

Reports say that the man was in the care of Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in 2011, and doctors who worked for the hospital over looked the man's disease. The lawsuit claims that he showed symptoms of esophageal cancer, including coughing up blood, but his condition was attributed to an enlarged tonsil even though the man had his tonsils removed when he was a child. By the time the man was properly diagnosed, his condition had worsened and the cancer had spread, and he died in 2012.

In public statements made by a hospital representative, the facility denied the allegations of negligence contained in the widow's lawsuit. The statement also noted the New Mexico Medical Review commission reviewed the case, and in a unanimous vote, the group found that the hospital had not been negligent.

As this case shows, the delayed diagnosis of cancer in a patient may result in serious complications, and the death of a patient due to a doctor's failure to diagnose the disease might be cited as negligence in a civil lawsuit that seeks compensation. Through a medical malpractice lawsuit, a plaintiff might be awarded funds that cover lost financial support and other damages stemming from the victim's death.

Source: Reuters, "Widow of American Indian activist sues doctors over his death", Keith Coffman, June 26, 2014

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