The Republic covered a recent jury verdict in a boundary challenging medical malpractice suit.
Margaret Mueller sued two of her doctors who missed a cancer diagnosis. Mrs. Mueller’s doctors diagnosed her with ovarian cancer. Shortly after the diagnosis she began the long, painful treatment process. Her long-time partner Charlotte Stacey describes it as forcing Margaret to “literally sleep her life away” for three and a half years. After the treatment began she was no longer able to climb the 27 stairs to their condo, so the couple was forced to move. The move resulted in Charlotte having a 4 hours commute to work each day. Charlotte also describes the many sleepless nights, injections, and rushed trips to the hospital during the treatment.
However, after all of that, it was eventually discovered that Margaret did not have ovarian cancer at all. Instead, she actually had cancer of the appendix. That meant that the years of devastating chemotherapy had been completely unnecessary and had allowed the actual cancer to spread throughout her body.
Evidence indicated that the original pathology report correctly revealed the cancer. However, her doctors failed to read that report, leading to the years of needlessly and harmful mistreatment.
Sadly, Margaret was unable to recover from the medical errors and missed diagnosis. She died last year before the trial began.
However, the medical malpractice story does not end there. While the jury determined that the doctors’ error led to over $2 million in damages for Margaret, that same jury was not allowed to determine if her partner of 20 years Charlotte Stacey deserved compensation for the struggles she endured while caring for her dying loved one. Before the trial, a local judge had thrown out Charlotte’s claim (known as a “loss of consortium “claim), because the couple were of the same sex and therefore not able to marry. Had the couple been of different genders and legally allowed to marry, the jury would have been able to award compensation for the suffering a partner endures when a loved one is the victim of medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice has devastating effects not just on the patients who are given inadequate care but also on their family and friends. Our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Levin & Perconti have fought for families of medical malpractice victims, ensuring that they are compensated for the suffering brought upon by negligent medical care. We have won many verdicts for missed diagnosis, included several multi-million dollar awards for improper cancer diagnosis.
No family, no matter what the gender of the partners, should be denied fair access and treatment by the courts. No negligent doctors deserve to be let off the hook merely because they happened to botch the medical care of someone in a same-sex relationship instead of an heterosexual relationship.
If you are or anyone you know have experienced inadequate medical care, be sure to contact our medical malpractice attorneys. We will fight for all types of families that have been victimized by medical error.