We were introduced to Steve and his wife and children by a friend-of-a-friend who knew of our firm’s reputation for honesty, and impressive results. When Steve and his wife came to see us, he was already terminal. We can still remember the desperation in his eyes when we first walked into our conference room to meet him. Steve knew that there wasn’t anything we could do to save his life. The end was already in sight. All he wanted to talk about was how we could hold his doctor accountable, and what we could do to take care of his wife and children.
You see, before his diagnosis, Steve was living a great life. He had a good job. His wife and children were healthy and happy. He was diligent about his healthcare, and attended yearly visits with his primary care physician, etc. He treated regularly with a gastroenterologist for ulcerative colitis. Steve saw his GI doctor twice a year for the management of his medications for his colitis.
The good life he was living all changed one day, when Steve woke up one morning with rectal bleeding. Shocked, he went to see his family doctor, who ordered a CT scan that revelated a huge tumor in his colon. Within three days of that CT Scan, Steve received the definitive diagnosis that he was suffering from Stage IV colon cancer—too advanced to be treated by the time it was diagnosed.
Steve didn’t understand. How could this happen? He had seen his GI doctor every year. He and his wife came to us for answers, and we promised we would get the answers he was looking for. We ordered his medical records, reviewed them ourselves, and sent them to our incredibly well-qualified team of medical experts, who quickly concluded that Steve’s doctor’s failure to order annual colonoscopies in light of his underlying condition amounted to gross malpractice. Our experts also told us that had yearly colonoscopies been ordered, Steve’s cancer would easily have been detected when many treatment options were still available to save his life.
The news of his doctor’s malpractice devastated Steve. He thought learning he would die from cancer was the worst news he could ever receive. He was wrong. He couldn’t believe that if his doctors had just done the right thing, he wouldn’t be facing an early death. Words could not console Steve.
Steve did not live long after our first meeting with him. We prosecuted a lawsuit on behalf of his family and Estate for more than a year before the insurance company came to us, just days before trial, wanting to settle. Ultimately, Steve’s case settled for a large amount of money — enough to replace all the wages he had been earning before his death, and enough to care for his family for years to come. We still speak to Steve’s wife from time to time to check up on her and their children. He and his family will forever hold a special place in the heart of this firm.