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...

Full Bio →

Written by

UPDATED: Jan 10, 2020

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.

Two doctors from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute were found to be responsible in the death of a 40-year old cancer patient after administering experimental chemotherapy treatment and ignoring the side effects that caused her death. A Suffolk County, Massachusetts jury recently awarded the deceased’s family $13.5 million.

Massachusetts medical malpractice

According to news reports, Amy Altman, a 40-year old wife and mother of two small children, was being treated for Ewing’s sarcoma at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. Ewing’s sarcoma affects bone and soft tissue in children. Since Altman was an adult, her oncologists at Farber decided to administer an experimental treatment that had never been used on adults. Although Altman agreed to the treatment and understood that side effects were possible, what happened next must have seemed like a nightmare to Altman and her family and friends.

Altman began to experience chronic diarrhea after two months of treatment. Her doctors allegedly ignored this symptom and Altman ended up at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital where she complained of extreme abdominal pain and could not urinate. It was discovered that the diarrhea had caused a massive infection by a flesh eating bacteria which eventually caused her death. Her family sued the doctors for medical malpractice and a Suffolk County jury awarded them $13.5 million (a $9.4 million verdict, plus over $4 million in interest) for the wrongful death that occurred in 2003. Dana Farber Cancer Institute was not named as a defendant.

Holding doctors accountable

While no one likes to bring a lawsuit against the doctors who were trying to help them, it’s important to realize that doctors – like anyone else – must be held accountable for their actions. If you or a family member has been injured due to a doctor’s negligence or have experienced a wrongful death, contact an experienced Massachusetts medical malpractice attorney to discuss your situation. Consultations are free, without obligation and are strictly confidential.