Shelby Co. jury awards breast cancer patient $24 million - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Shelby Co. jury awards breast cancer patient $24 million

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By Lori Brown - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A Shelby County Jury handed down one of the largest medical malpractice verdicts in Tennessee state history Friday.

A Desoto County Mississippi woman was awarded nearly 24 million dollars, after a jury says her doctor failed to diagnose her breast cancer.

Courtney Hill is a mother of a four year old daughter, and married to her high school sweetheart, Robert.

Her attorney told us she was too ill from her breast cancer to talk with us Monday.

"She has a very grave prognosis," Attorney Will Raiford said. He says her life could be much different, if her doctor had caught the cancer sooner.

"Stage one breast cancer has a 90 plus percent chance of cure," he said.

Here's what the lawsuit says happened. Hill was just 23 when she noticed a lump her breast. She went to her OB-GYN, Dr. Claudia Moise at OB-GYN Specialists P.C. of East Memphis.

She says Dr. Moise told her not to worry about the lump after she examined it with her hands. Dr. Moise did not make any notes to evaluate the lump at a later date.

Hill noticed the lump was larger and more painful 18 months later. Dr. Moise's schedule was full, so she saw her partner. After a mammogram and biopsy, Dr. Paula Pilgrim quickly diagnosed the cancer.

We asked OB-GYN Dr. Kingsley Oraedu what he thought of the delayed diagnosis.

"This can be easily missed by even the very best doctors," Dr. Oraedu said.

Dr. Oraedu said it is rare for a 23 year old to have breast cancer.

"We don't usually order mammogram or diagnostic tests for cancer for this age group," he said.

But the Shelby County jury spoke loud and clear with their nearly $24 million verdict. They felt Dr. Moise should have done more.

"All that Courtney hopes is that it will help physicians remember doing further testing is required," Raiford said.

It's an expensive reminder Hill hopes will save someone else's life.

Dr. Moise's attorney said it would be inappropriate for him to comment at this time. The verdict won't be final until the judge signs it, which is expected to happen Tuesday.

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