Patient Death Following Failure to Diagnose Melanoma, $1M Settlement

August 10, 2012 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


A Massachusetts physician agreed to pay $1 million to settle allegations of negligently failing to diagnose a cancerous melanoma that a patient told him had changed significantly, according to a report from the July 2012 Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements, and Experts. The patient, age 36, visited the defendant primary care physician for a full physical examination in January 2003. The patient expressed concern about a one centimeter by one centimeter atypical mole on his left calf that he noticed was changing. The physician was not worried about the appearance of the mole, recommending that the patient return in six months if he wanted to have it removed for cosmetic reasons. The plaintiff argued that a biopsy or referral to a surgeon to evaluate the area should have been provided at this time. Over the next five months, the patient noticed additional changes and again visited the physician’s office where he was seen by one of the physician’s colleagues. The physician immediately sent the patient to a surgeon for consultation and biopsy.

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