Linda Klasten*, in her early thirties, had everything to live for. She and her husband Mike were deeply in love. They recently had welcomed their son Owen to their family. Linda loved that child. Her world revolved around him. Mike was a police officer, Linda a teacher. The family lived west of Binghamton. Linda worked full time as a teacher, but most enjoyed coming home to spend time with Owen. She loved horses and would take Owen to the barn and show him the horses and how to care for them. Sometimes Owen and Linda would walk the fields together, holding hands, Owen and Linda talking about his day in pre-school.
When Owen was about 3 years old, Linda had a growing mole on her back biopsied. The physician performing the biopsy sent the tissue to a local hospital for testing. That testing came back negative. Linda was relieved. She forgot about the mole.
A year later, Linda didn’t feel right. Her back kept hurting. She went back to her doctor. They tested the mole again. On a bright sunny day in July, Linda learned two things: First, she had a skin cancer called melanoma. That mole had been cancerous, and since the first test it had spread to her back and was destroying the bones in her back. Now it was too late to stop it. Second, the hospital pathologist had misread the original test as negative when it was positive. The over a year delay meant that Linda had lost her chance to beat the cancer. She died a little over a year later, after fighting hard to stay alive for her son and her husband. By the time she died, the cancer had spread to her lungs, brain, chest, and abdomen.
We sued the hospital and the pathologist, and secured a large settlement. Linda’s death devastated Owen and Mike. We helped Mike put most of the settlement funds in trust for Owen for his education and future. Owen is graduating high school soon. We hope that he remembers how much his mother loved him.
*All client names and some details have been changed to protect client identity and maintain the attorney client privilege.