Dear friends and physicians:
Last summer, the Minnesota Supreme Court recognized, for the first time, a lawsuit (cause of action) for “loss of a chance for a cure” arising from a delay in diagnosis and treatment. In the case of Dickhoff v. Green, a young child was found to have a lump on her buttock. It continued to grow, but the doctor simply felt the growth was a cyst.
When the family finally took the child to an expert years later, it was discovered the child had a rare form of cancer known as ARS, which is deadly. The cancer, when discovered, had spread throughout the child’s body (State III/IV) which results in a very poor prognosis.
The parents sued and the court agreed that doctors can be liable for not only misdiagnosis, but for the “loss of the chance” (percentage) of cure as a result of a delay in proper diagnosis and treatment. This case will require doctors to really ramp up practicing “defensive medicine”. If there is even a chance of a serious condition, the primary doctor needs to refer out (transfer care) to an expert, or do all testing possible to rule out serious conditions. For more information, contact Richard Hechter at 952-920-0840.
Right now, my office is working on a case where a patient was given a lethal dose, by accident, of a psychotropic drug. We will blog about that in the near future.