Cancer not recognized: doctor has to pay


Malpractice: A doctor did not recognize a patient's deadly colon cancer and was now sentenced to 70,000 euros in compensation for pain and suffering for this Witwers.

(06/23/2010) An undetected fatal illness of a patient can cost doctors dearly. Because a doctor diagnosed fatal colorectal cancer too late, the Göttingen district court sentenced her to 70,000 euros in compensation for pain and suffering and a monthly maintenance payment of 650 euros to the surviving husband of the deceased patient. The doctor had not complied with her medical care.

In the specific case, the judges assume that the patient can still be promised if the diagnosis is timely and correct. The patient would have been saved by the correct diagnosis. The patient went to the doctor's office with severe abdominal pain. The doctor then prescribed psychotherapy. After a month, the 35-year-old patient had come to the practice again. The doctor then prescribed medication for ulcers and inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. Once again, the doctor prescribed sauerkraut juice for constipation and an antispasmodic drug without an examination. Colon cancer was ultimately diagnosed only after five months of first presentation in the doctor's office. However, it was too late for a promising treatment. The patient died a short time later as a result of the disease.

A medical treatment error represents a violation by the doctor or dentist against "the rules of medical art" and can be brought to court in Germany. Doctors are obliged to take medical care. If this care is not completed and the doctor can be proven to have neglected to exercise due diligence, a doctor can be held liable. However, it is difficult for most of those affected to prove the malpractice of the doctor. For most of those affected, a long lawsuit before the courts begins with a large number of expert reports. (sb)

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