Damages: Plaintiff May Seek Emotional Distress Damages for Delayed Cancer Diagnosis

August 1, 2011 | Healthcare Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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​In a lawsuit alleging delayed diagnosis of breast cancer, the Supreme Court of Ohio clarified that a plaintiff who incurs physical damage as a result of medical negligence may also recover damages for emotional distress resulting directly from that damage. While permitting the plaintiff's damage claim for emotional distress, the court emphasized that Ohio law does not recognize a direct claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress absent physical injury caused by negligence.

The plaintiff claimed that the defendant radiology center, in its capacity as an employer, had caused or contributed to her injury by failing to supervise the defendant radiologist, who she claimed breached required standards of care in interpreting her screening mammograms for breast cancer. The plaintiff claimed that failure to timely diagnose her condition resulted in the progression of untreated carcinoma to Stage IIA breast cancer, resulting in a "loss of...

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