David Robinson was just 35-years-old when he found blood in his stool. He decided to visit a clinic, staffed by the American Health Network, a private physician group practice that operates in more than 70 offices in Indiana and Ohio. According to a medical malpractice lawsuit, filed on behalf of Robinson, because of the physician assistant’s alleged negligence there was an eight-month delay in diagnosing his rectal cancer. By the time the cancer had been identified it had metastasized and spread throughout his body. Robinson’s family contended that the delay may have cost David his life.
The defendant and plaintiff could not come to a settlement and the lawsuit went to trial earlier this year. After hearing testimony from both sides, a Franklin County jury ruled in favor of the plaintiff. At the conclusion of the eight-day trial, the jury found both the physician assistant and the American Health Network culpable for the wrongful death of David Robinson, who was a husband and the father of three children. He died less than a year after being diagnosed with cancer and experts testified that he could have been successfully treated if the cancer was found at the initial visit.
“A jury verdict can speak volumes about what standards we expect as a community,” said one of the attorneys representing Robinson’s estate. “Medical care exists so that diseases are not allowed to freely run their course. Here, the jury’s verdict says it is the provider’s duty to intervene, to do everything possible to stop the patient’s disease.”
The jury awarded a $5.2 million verdict to David Robinson’s estate for his pain, suffering, medical expenses, and loss of wages. The money will go to his wife and children who are still trying to come to terms with the loss of their father. It is not yet clear whether the American Health Network will appeal the ruling.