A Montana man who was told — incorrectly — that he was dying of cancer and had less than six months to live was awarded $59,820 in a lawsuit filed in federal court, the Helena Independent Record says.
Mark Templin was misdiagnosed at the Fort Harrison VA Medical Center near Helena, Mont.
The IR said:
He sold his truck, quit his job and put his affairs in order, which included prominently displaying a “Do Not Resuscitate” notice on his refrigerator so any emergency medical responders would let him die. His family held a “last birthday” dinner [for] him and he arranged and paid for his funeral service. His son-in-law made a wooden box for his ashes.
Templin also contemplated suicide, U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy wrote in his decision.
Templin, who is in his 70s, went to the VA Medical Center in 2009 with memory, vision and speech problems. An internist, Dr. Patrick Morrow, referred him to an eye specialist, who suspected a stroke. But a CT scan was inconclusive, and another specialist recommended more tests.
Morrow testified that he mentioned brain cancer to Templin but suggested an MRI. The Independent Record added:
However, Molloy wrote that there was no indication in Templin’s medical records that Morrow suggested any further diagnostic workup and that Templin and his family understood that he had brain cancer and was expected to die within six months.
Templin was prescribed a brain cancer drug that’s not supposed to be given to stroke patients and also had hospice care.
Then he got better. Further tests showed a stroke but no brain cancer.
The judge awarded Templin $500 per day for the first two months of severe distress following the misdiagnosis, plus $300 per day for the period until his new diagnosis. The VA was also ordered to cover the costs for Templin’s birthday party and prearranged funeral expenses.
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