$2.4M award upheld in medical malpractice, missing ovary case

In 2008, a 59-year-old woman had died after losing her battle with ovarian cancer. Although patients in Illinois and throughout the entire world die from cancer every year, the woman’s husband claimed that her death could have been avoided.

The woman’s husband pursued a wrongful death lawsuit against his wife’s doctor. In April 2011, the man won the medical malpractice lawsuit. A jury awarded the man more than $1.9 million for his wife’s wrongful death. After interest was calculated and added, the award increased to nearly $2.4 million. But after the man finally believed that he had obtained some sort of justice after losing his wife, the doctor appealed the decision.

The doctor appealed the decision because the woman’s husband had argued that his wife was supposed to have both of her ovaries removed during an operation in 2004, but only one ovary was removed by the doctor. When the woman passed away from ovarian cancer, an autopsy was performed. The autopsy revealed that both of the woman’s ovaries had been removed from her body. The doctor argued that because one ovary was missing, the husband had no evidence to support claims that his wife’s operation had been performed incorrectly.

The woman was supposed to have both ovaries removed in 2004 when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in order to prevent her cancer from returning. However, the woman’s cancer returned, and after reviewing medical documents from the woman’s operation, it was discovered that the left ovary had not been removed.

Even though an autopsy revealed that both of the woman’s ovaries had been removed, records from the operation only included information about the right ovary being removed. Nothing was mentioned about the left ovary being removed. The woman’s husband argued that this was evidence that the woman’s doctor never removed her left ovary. But the doctor argued that the autopsy provided enough evidence to prove that he did remove both ovaries during the operation.

After reviewing the appeal, a Superior Court recently decided to uphold the jury’s award. The court concluded that the doctor did not provide sufficient evidence to prove that he removed the woman’s left ovary.

Source: GOlackawanna, “$1.9M medical malpractice award upheld,” Terrie Morgan-Besecker, March 7, 2013

Wrongful Death


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