Maryland Court Rules on Cancer Patient’s Wrongful Death, Saying There Was No Negligence in Missed Cancer Diagnosis

A divided Maryland Court of Special Appeals says there is insufficient evidence to show that medical malpractice caused the death of Sherri Schaefer, who died of uterine cancer in 2005. She was diagnosed with the disease in 2001.

Schaefer’s husband, Charles Marcantonio, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Dr. Melissa Moen, a gynecologist at Women’s OB/GYN in Parole, Maryland.

In his lawsuit, Marcantonio claimed that Moen and Anne Arundel Diagnostics Inc.’s Dr. Paula Decandido did not conduct enough tests when his wife was first diagnosed with the disease.

Schaefer first went to the hospital in 2002 because she was experiencing heavy vaginal bleeding. Dr. Moen attributed the bleeding to hormone-replacement therapy. The bleeding continued for seven months. Following a biopsy, the ovarian cancer was discovered.

Marcantonio claims that Moen and Decandido missed a 1.5 cm. ovarian mass on the sonogram. Decandido is the one who interpreted the sonogram. Because of this, Schaefer’s diagnosis was delayed. Marcantonio says his wife’s chances of survival went down to 50-60 % from 80%.

Maryland’s second highest court, however, disagreed, and said that the plaintiff was unable to prove that any of the defendants acted negligently—resulting in Schaefer’s death.

According to Judge James P. Salmon of the Court of Special Appeals, “The major issue to be decided is whether proof that a health care provider was responsible for a twenty- to thirty-percent reduction in the decedent’s chance of survival is sufficient to prove that the malpractice caused the death. We shall hold that it is not.”

Medical malpractice and wrongful death cases can be challenging to prove. This is why it is so important that you hire a Maryland or Washington D.C. personal injury attorney to take on your case.

Losing someone you love is hard enough without having the cause of death be the carelessness or negligence of a physician. A wrongful death lawyer can file a lawsuit on your behalf to hold the negligent party or parties financially responsible.

Missed cancer diagnosis not negligence, The Daily Record, December 31, 2007
Wrongful death case hinged on mass allegedly missed in sonogram, Capital Online, December 28, 2007

Related Web Resource:

Liberia RPCV Sherri Schaefer dies in Annapolis, PeaceCorps, May 23, 2005

You are entitled to recovery for your injuries or the death of your loved on. Contact the personal injury law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen today for your free consultation.

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