June 30, 2014 — A woman whose mother died of lung cancer has been awarded $16.7 million after a jury found that her doctor was liable for malpractice after missing signs of the cancer during a screening, according to the Boston Globe.
The 33 year-old plaintiff, Johnette Ellis, filed a lawsuit in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. Her mother, Jeanne Ellis, visited a Brigham and Women’s Hospital in October 2006 with a persistent cough. She was given a chest X-ray looking for pneumonia, and was diagnosed with an upper respiratory tract infection.
In November 2007, she returned to the hospital again complaining of a persistent cough. This time, she was given a CT scan and doctors identified numerous nodules in her lungs. She was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. Over the next seven months, the cancer spread rapidly and caused her death in August 2008.
Attorneys for Ellis say her radiologist missed a 1.5-cm nodule in the original chest X-ray in 2006, which grew to at least 2.5-cm by 2007. Chest X-rays are not the best tool for diagnosing lung cancer because other dense tissues also appear opaque. Attorneys for her doctor said that he was never provided with her full medical history, which included 30 years of smoking cigarettes.
Lung cancer symptoms include:
- Coughing, especially persistent or intense
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Changes in voice or hoarseness
- Recurrent lung problems
- Coughing up phlegm or mucous
- Coughing up blood
- Changes in color or volume of sputum
- And more
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