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Hospital appeal of $200,000 verdict in malpractice claim denied

When a patient is diagnosed with a disease such as cancer, it is devastating. The emotional turmoil of the diagnosis affects not only the patient, but his or her family, friends and even community. In a story from Connecticut's regional neighbor of Maine, a hospital's appeal of a $200,000 verdict in a medical malpractice case has been denied by the state's Supreme Judicial Court.

The case was filed by a man who was diagnosed with a form of aggressive, fatal cancer at Central Maine Medical Center. He would later learn that he had non-Hodgkins lymphoma, which is a form of cancer considered more treatable. The lawsuit sought damages from the hospital for "tremendous emotional distress" that was caused by the doctor's misdiagnosis.

The appeal by the hospital alleged that the trial court erred when it allowed a hospital executive's letter to be admitted into evidence. The letter apparently acknowledged that the plaintiff's doctor should not have given the man the diagnosis before getting the results of more conclusive tests.

The state's Supreme Judicial Court denied the hospital's appeal and allowed the $200,000 verdict to stand.

In cases where a misdiagnosis has occurred, patients have a right to seek compensation for the physician's mistakes. Claims may be made for a variety of damages in civil court, including medical expenses, emotional distress, pain and suffering and other damages.

In many such cases, there may be more than one person or entity listed as defendants. Hospitals, medical centers and other medical staff members may all be held liable for medical negligence or malpractice.

Source:  ctpost.com, "Maine high court rejects hospital's appeal" No author given, Jun. 11, 2014

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