IL Med Mal: Patient’s Family Awarded $3.6M In Cancer Misdiagnosis Lawsuit

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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The family of an Illinois woman who died of misdiagnosed breast cancer was awarded $3.6 million in a medical malpractice case. The damages award from the doctor who failed to correctly diagnose the woman’s cancer will be used to support her 23 year old special needs daughter.

Breast cancer misdiagnosis

This Illinois medical malpractice lawsuit involves 55 year old Lisa Ann Stenberg. According to a news article in the Daily Herald, Stenberg felt a lump on her breast in 1999 and went to see Dr. Kathleen Pearson. Although a mammogram and biopsy came back negative, Stenberg suffered from lobular cancer, which generally can only be detected through an ultrasound. Her doctor failed to take that extra step and Stenberg thought she was cancer free. Years passed and Stenberg saw another doctor who did perform the ultrasound. Unfortunately, it was too late for Stenberg who died from the breast cancer in 2007.

Illinois medical malpractice lawsuit

Her family filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against Dr. Pearson and a jury awarded Stenberg’s family $3.6 million in damages. That money will be used to support Stenberg’s 23 year old daughter who is mentally disabled and now lives in a group home.

Failure to correctly diagnose is common

Doctors’ failures to correctly diagnose medical conditions are common. While we all place a certain amount of trust in our doctor’s diagnoses, the fact remains that they are human and make mistakes. Doctors receive a great deal of training and will be held to a certain level of competency. If it is found that they haven’t met that level, then they should be held accountable for their actions. In this case, the jury found that Dr. Pearson should have taken the extra step and had an ultrasound test which may have saved Stenberg’s life.

While many misdiagnosis cases simply go undetected, those that are detected may very well be actionable. If you’ve been injured due to a doctor’s medical malpractice, seek the advice of a medical malpractice attorney to discuss your situation and evaluate your options. You may be entitled to compensation.

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