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Professor’s estate sues hospital for failure to diagnose

A medical malpractice suit against a Midwestern hospital has been settled. The suit was filed in Illinois’ neighboring state of Iowa. The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics has agreed to pay $150,000 for its role in the death of a law professor in 2011. The suit charged physicians with failure to diagnose the fatal colon cancer that killed the victim. The decedent perished at age 75.

The man was still conducting research and teaching at the University of Iowa College of Law well into his later years. This professor had developed evidence-based research to fight racial discrimination in the legal system. He was among the first to quantitatively prove that African American defendants were more likely to receive capital punishment sentences.

Physicians initially thought the man suffered from bowel dysfunction. He was diagnosed shortly thereafter with colon cancer. The man was denied the opportunity for another colonoscopy after having a benign polyp in 2004. He should have received the screening procedure again in 2009. He was reportedly told that he did not need the colonoscopy. The hospital denies negligence in the case.

The professor in this case had helped file his own wrongful death suit. He met with attorneys before his death to pursue medical malpractice claims. This is an unusual situation, according to the attorney who is currently representing the man’s estate. The suit seeks compensation for lost income and pain and suffering, among other claims.

Medical malpractice does not always lead to death. It can also result in disfigurement or disability. No matter what the outcome may be, Illinois physicians must be held responsible for their mistakes. That accountability may involve financial claims for wrongful death and personal injury.

Source:, “Malpractice suit over Iowa professor’s death won’t go to court” No author given, Jan. 22, 2014


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