We often discuss the proper damages for failure to diagnose cancer, including the calculation of the reduction in survivability (area where we disagree with our English cousins in torts). How about a misdiagnosis of cancer when the patient is cancer-free? That is the issue that faced a jury in Texas where Herlinda Garcia, 54, went through the highly traumatic process of chemotherapy only to discover that she never had cancer to begin with.
A part time civil process worker, Garcia went through seven months of chemo after being diagnoses with Stage IV terminal Breast Cancer. That diagnosis followed the removal of a benign tumor from her left breast. She says that the treatment was not just physically painful but mentally destructive as she lost her eyelashes, eyebrows, and went into a deep depression.
Her lawsuit identifies Dr. Ahmad Qadri as the alleged culprit in misreading the lab results. That led to the long treatment before doctors later reviewed the record and found the mistake. Qadri is now dead, but the jury awarded Garcia $367,500 in damages from physical pain and mental anguish.
That seems like a fair award given a process in which powerful chemicals are repeatedly injected into a person over months. The verdict could help increase the needed deterrent for such cases of malpractice.