The Florida Board of Medicine may revoke the license of a doctor who failed to treat one of his cancer patients with chemotherapy. According to Florida Health Department officials involved in the case, there is “clear and convincing evidence” that the doctor committed medical malpractice and financially exploited his patient. This doctor’s failure to diagnose led to the death of his patient.
The case involves a 23-year-old college senior with Hodgkin’s lymphoma who had difficulty accepting her diagnosis. After her initial diagnosis, she sought a second, third and fourth opinion. All of the medical centers she went to confirmed she had cancer. These medical centers also confirmed that she had an 80 percent chance of beating the cancer if she were to receive chemotherapy.
Eventually, the young woman ended up in the office of the doctor that now stands accused of medical malpractice. This doctor practiced “integrative medicine,” which combines holistic and traditional treatment methods. He did not believe this young woman had cancer, and instead attributed her problems to allergies or mold. Instead of chemotherapy, she was given iron shots, herbal supplements and antibiotics. In 2013, the young woman died from Hodgkin’s lymphoma, one of the most treatable types of cancer.
Is This Case an Example of Failure to Diagnose?
Most people with this disease have an 80 to 90 percent survival rate, even if it has progressed to a later stage. What makes this case upsetting is that the doctor knew this young woman had been diagnosed by several other health centers, and still denied her lifesaving treatment. This will be an interesting case to watch unfold with the Florida Board of Medicine, simply because it puts integrative medicine into the limelight.
The case represents a classic example of “failure to diagnose.” Doctors should never neglect an opportunity to help patients
The Tampa Bay medical malpractice attorneys at Shapiro Law Group are dedicated to helping the youngest victims of medical wrongdoing.