Malpractice Case Continues After Patient Dies

In an unsigned, unanimous ruling, the Texas Supreme Court ruled last week that the family of Sharon Boyd, a Fort Worth woman who died last year of colon cancer, can proceed with a malpractice lawsuit against three doctors who had diagnosed her ailment as hemorrhoids.

The doctors had asked the court to void the lawsuit, which was filed in 2002, saying her case “evaporated” as a result of her death. Boyd’s lawyer criticized the move, saying it was ironic for doctors accused of contributing to Boyd’s death to use the occasion to press for victory.

Boyd initially sought treatment for bleeding and constipation in 1998 and was told it was hemorrhoids. In Apri, 2002, a colonoscopy revealed stage four colon cancer and she filed suit four months later. Since Texas has a two-year statute of limitations, starting from the treatment date, to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, the doctors argued that the misdiagnosis occurred outside the limitations period.

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