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Should I pursue a medical malpractice case in the case of my mom who died at 58 years old?

Joliet, IL |

My mother had a double mastectomy surgery in August 2012 for Stage 0 carcinoma in-situ. She just kept having benign tumors so she was advised to have the surgery. By the end of September she started to feel ill and she entered the hospital Oct. 1 and died by Oct. 5th. None of her doctors seemed to have any clue as to what was going on and her body just shut down. I received the death certificate and it showed that she had colon cancer which in turn shut down her kidney and liver. I would think if she had a double mastectomy that they would have done testing to look for any other cancer or issues prior to that type of surgery. Does this seem like malpractice, she was only 58??

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Attorney answers 5


I'm sorry about your loss.

The answer to question is a lawyerly one: possibly. In order to file suit, you'd need to show there was a deviation of care from the standard of the medical community. Your hunch that they *should* have done some testing for other forms of cancer may be correct.

What you can do is get all of your mother's records and take them to a medical malpractice attorney. They can help you track down the right expert about testing for cancer, and what should have been done, if anything, to properly diagnose your mother's colon cancer.
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This answer is intended as informational only, and does not constitute legal advice or form an attorney-client relationship between us.


As attorney Kasher says, there is no easy answer. Get your records to an attorney to weigh your options.

This answer posted on Avvo is for informational and educational purposes only. There is no attorney-client relationship created or formed and you should not rely on this as legal advice. The suggestion is made that if you wish to protect your rights, you consult with an attorney immediately.


I am sorry for your loss.
In answer to your question, solely from what you describe the answer is no. You have not described anything that would appear to be below the standard of care. You seem to indicate that your mother died from colon cancer that was undiagnosed. That in an of itself could be the basis of a medical negligence case if your Mom had signs and symptoms of colon cancer that went undetected and if diagnosed sooner would have changed the outcome. Merely because your Mom was diagnosed with benign breast tumors and had surgery does not necessarily mean that colon cancer was something that should have been diagnosed on that basis alone.
It does seem odd that the death certificate lists a cause of death that apparently no one knew anything about. While again based just on what you describe I do not think there is a viable case here, there are enough questions unanswered that would justify a review. Your Mom was very young and an investigation is warranted. You should contact a lawyer who handles medical negligence cases who is willing to gather all of your mother's records and have them reviewed by a medical expert to determine if the care and treatment she received fell below the standard of care and if that is the case whether a timely diagnosis and treatment would have materially impacted the outcome. I do not think you will ever feel right unless you have answers to what happened to your Mom and whether her death could have been prevented.

If you feel this is the "best" answer or is "helpful," please indicate. Since I am limited to the information you provide, I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the answer. You should seek the advise of an attorney who can explore all aspects of your question. This communication does not form an attorney client relationship.


Have a local malpractice lawyer review the medical records


There might be a cause of action against her primary care doctor if he/she did not properly counsel your mother on routine colonoscopies. A consultation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can evaluate the totality of her medical records is advised.

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