I have heard of diagnoses gone wrong, but this takes the cake. Mark Templin
of Montana visited the Fort Harrison VA Medical Center in early 2009 because
of chest pain. They put in a stent, but a week later Templin began experiencing
headaches, memory issues, and problems with his vision and speech. Templin
was sent to various specialists, including an ophthalmologist and a neuroradiologist.
The specialists thought it possible Templin had had a stroke. Other possibilities
included a brain tumor. The neuroradiologist concluded that further testing
would be needed to make a definitive diagnosis.
The physician at the VA, however, somehow decided Templin had brain cancer
and told him and his family that he had about six months to live. The
physician, Dr. Patrick Morrow, alleges that he actually told Templin further
tests were required, but Templin’s medical records do not reflect
that. Templin and his family believed without a doubt that Templin would
die of brain cancer. Templin opted not to undergo cancer treatment and
instead was put on two cancer drugs and set up with hospice care. Templin
quit his job and made final arrangements, including paying for his funeral
and having a “final” birthday party. He sunk into depression,
but after several months his condition improved. In the summer Templin
had another CT scan and was told he had suffered from some small strokes
and did not have brain cancer. Later in the year Templin had an MRI that
provided a final conclusion that he had suffered not from brain cancer
but from a stroke.
As you can imagine, Templin sued for negligence, and this week U.S. District
Court Judge Donald Molloy awarded Templin nearly $60,000. Broken down,
the award amounts to $500 per day for the time period from initial misdiagnosis
to April 15, 2009, then $300 per day until he received his new diagnosis.
The award also includes the cost of his “final” birthday party
as well as the funeral.
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