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Government Negligence

In Patient v. Regents (Sacto. Sup. Ct.), Andrew McDevitt and Christian Jagusch represented a 46-year-old woman who developed stage 4 cancer after a one-year delay in treatment. In June of 2014, the patient discovered a lump in her left breast. Pathology results of a biopsy were inconclusive. Soon thereafter, the patient switched to the defendant’s health care system. In September of 2014, she followed up with a surgical oncologist employed by U.C. Davis, who excised the lump. The pathology results revealed angiosarcoma, an aggressive soft tissue cancer. Defendant claimed that her primary care physician at U.C. Davis conveyed the results to her. The patient denied being told about the cancer by any of her doctors. She claimed that she did not learn about the malignant mass until more than one year later when she changed health insurers. By then, the mass had doubled in size. She developed metastatic cancer. Defendant retained a renowned surgical oncologist, who opined that there was no breach in the standard of care and that plaintiff had an incurable form of cancer, which would not have benefitted from earlier treatment in any event. Andrew and Christian proceeded to trial alleging the defendant’s failure to inform plaintiff of her diagnosis 13 months earlier fell below the standard of care and caused her to suffer and sustain a diminution in her life expectancy and earnings. After jury selection, the case settled for $900,000.