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Inmate claims failure to recognize cancer caused him serious harm

Even while incarcerated, inmates serving time for various convictions are still legally entitled to proper healthcare. One inmate alleges that he suffered due to the jail doctor's failure to recognize cancer. Whether incarcerated or not, the inability to provide an accurate and timely diagnosis can have serious consequences on the overall health of New Jersey patients.

The man reportedly complained of throat pain and the presence of a lump almost 20 times in less than a year. He even reported bleeding from his mouth, but was apparently neither diagnosed or treated for any of these symptoms. Instead, he was simply instructed to take an over-the-counter pain reliever and drink plenty of water, alongside salt gargles.

In 2010, he was transferred from that jail to a new location. A month after he arrived, 17 of his teeth had to be extracted and he received his diagnosis -- throat cancer. After his diagnosis, he was placed on probation. During treatment, which included chemotherapy and radiation, he lost a considerable amount of weight and ultimately ended up with a feeding tube. Apparently, he is unable to eat any solid food for the remainder of his life.

In his lawsuit against the county that ran the jail, he alleges that the jail's doctor committed negligence and medical malpractice in his failure to recognize cancer. Additionally, he contends that these actions violated his right to individual dignity. He is seeking $1.5 million from the county to compensate him for damages that he might not have suffered had he been properly diagnosed in a timely manner. New Jersey patients who have similarly suffered as a result of a missed diagnosis may also seek compensation through the successful litigation of a medical malpractice claim.

Source:, "Former inmate sues Yellowstone County over cancer", July 15, 2014

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Alan D. Bell
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