Inmate’s estate awarded damages for delayed diagnosis of cancer

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When a Houston resident receives a cancer diagnosis it can be devastating. Although many cancers are treatable the diagnosis itself is scary and answers aren’t always apparent. But occasionally a person can suffer from a delayed diagnosis for cancer which can lead to a worsened condition because the cancer is not treated early on.

The estate of an inmate in New York received a $1.75 million damage award after a judge determined the inmate did not receive proper medical care. The inmate was serving a one to three-year sentence when in 2009 he complained of abdominal pain. A prison doctor did not have the man’s case referred to a urologist and did not do the proper abdominal tests until November 2011. At that time the man was diagnosed with cancer, had surgery to remove a kidney and underwent months of chemotherapy and radiation. He was cancer free until 2013 when it spread to his lymph nodes. He died in May 2015. An expert testified that if the inmate’s cancer had been diagnosed earlier his five-year survival rate would have been over 60 percent. The judge found that because of the delayed diagnosis and delayed treatment his survival rate dropped to 0 percent.

When cancer is not diagnosed early it can be harder to treat. Late stage cancer is very serious and often has a higher mortality rate. Medical providers need to be aware of warning signs that the patient presents that need to be further evaluated. When a medical provider fails to diagnose cancer it can lead to a worsened condition or even death. Families who believe their medical provider did not diagnose their loved one’s cancer in a timely manner may want to speak with a medical malpractice attorney. Compensation may be available for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.

Source:, “Inmate’s estate awarded $1.7M for delay in treating cancer”, Joel Stashenko, Nov. 9, 2015