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Boston Family Awarded $16.7 Million in Malpractice Suit

Johnette Ellis never imagined she would lose her mother so soon. At 47-years-old, Jeanne Ellis was a loving mother who left behind a heartbroken family after she passed away from advanced-stage lung cancer. A jury has awarded the daughter of Jeanne Ellis $16.7 million after Johnette sued Dr. Peter Clarke at Brigham and Women’s Hospital alleging medical malpractice surrounding her mother’s death.

According to the Boston Globe, Jeanne Ellis came to the emergency room at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital in October of 2006 suffering from a persistent cough. Court documents state that Dr. Clarke ordered an x-ray done of her chest, which he then read and deemed as normal. Ms. Ellis was “diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection and prescribed antibiotics,” according to Boston.com
Just over a year later, Jeanne Ellis returned to the same hospital and complained that her symptoms had not subsided, instead they had gotten worse. A different doctor then ordered a separate CT scan done and found advanced-stage lung cancer. Ms. Ellis passed away only seven months later.

Devastated, daughter Johnette filed suit against the hospital and the doctor claiming he failed to catch her lung cancer in the early stages where she would have had a better shot at recovering. The stunning $16.7 million verdict is the largest malpractice award this year in the state. This case follows another recent high profile malpractice case last month against Massachusetts General Hospital. Both Mass. General and Brigham and Women’s are considered leading research hospitals and highly regarded as being among the best in the world, but issues like this still occur.

Dr. Alasdair Conn and Dr. George Velmahos evaluated the 62-year-old mother Geraldine Moran at Mass. General after she had been transported there after a fall. The doctors decided against ordering a chest scan or sending her to surgery to correct a displaced rib. Instead, they administered an epidural to ease the pain and planned to order a chest x-ray in the morning. It was noted that Geraldine was suffering from a bad cough.

The Boston Globe reports that Geraldine Moran went into cardiac arrest around 9:30am the following morning. She had coughed, causing the sharp edge to cut her aorta. Dr. Velmahos and his surgical team attempted to clamp Moran’s aorta, but she did not respond to the treatment. At 9:49am, Moran was pronounced dead at Mass. General Hospital. “An autopsy found a 1-centimeter hole in Moran’s aorta, near the tip of the fractured rib,” the Globe added. Moran’s family and the doctors later settled for $4.5 million.

Mass. General and Brigham and Women’s Hospitals have long been regarded as elite institutions with some of the country’s best doctors and revolutionary treatments, but that does not make them immune from holding doctors accountable for their mistakes. When you or your family are under the care of doctor, you trust them with your life. The medical professionals must be held to the highest standards of patient care. While it can feel daunting to go up against a major hospital, Altman & Altman has the knowledge and experience successfully argue your case. Our dedicated attorneys have decades of experience successfully handling malpractice cases and are available to help around the clock. You should contact a Boston Injury Lawyer right away to find out whether to proceed with this route.

To read the full Boston.com report, click here