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: Jan 10, 2020

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Have you ever been to a doctor who either dismissed your symptoms or had the feeling that he or she simply didn’t believe you? That’s what happened to one New Jersey man who ended up suing his doctors for medical malpractice and being awarded $25 million in damages for his injuries.

What led to the NJ med mal lawsuit?

According to news reports, 40 year old Trenton native John Stanford saw several doctors over the course of a few years for severe headaches. Unfortunately, none of those doctors seemed to believe that he was ill – when he actually was. Stanford saw the first doctor in 2001 who diagnosed the headaches as a viral syndrome and prescribed painkillers to alleviate the symptoms. However, Stanford ended up in the emergency room shortly afterwards where another doctor also diagnosed him with a tension headache – even though tests showed that he had a cyst on his brain. He was released, this time with crutches as he was having trouble walking.

He returned to emergency a second and third time over the next week. The doctor who treated him on the second trip to the ER diagnosed him as being psychotic and released him yet again – even though his family urged doctors to admit him to the hospital. The third visit to the ER resulted in his admission where a test discovered an aneurysm. He underwent surgery that left him with severe brain damage, the inability to use his right arm or leg and the need for breathing and eating assistance.

Deviations from accepted standards of care

Stanford sued the doctors who had misdiagnosed him for medical malpractice. A jury found that several of the doctors deviated from accepted standards of medical care and awarded Stanford $25 million in damages. Why the doctors didn’t treat Stanford based upon his symptoms or the results of the tests which showed a cyst on his brain is still a mystery, but his lawyer said that he believed that each subsequent doctor simply relied upon the previous doctors’ diagnoses instead of going the extra step to determine what was really wrong.

If you’ve been the victim of medical malpractice, contact a New Jersey medical malpractice attorney to discuss your situation.