Posted on May 29, 2007
Jury awards $5.7 million in cancer patient malpractice suit
10:16 a.m. May 23, 2007
SAN DIEGO – A Superior Court jury awarded $5.7 million in damages to a bedridden man who claimed a doctor failed to diagnose his skin cancer.
The verdict is the largest medical-malpractice award in California this year, but will be cut to $1.9 million under a state statute limiting damages in malpractice suits.
Regis M. Reilly, 53, claimed dermatologist James C. Powers failed to biopsy a cyst that later metastasized into cancer. Reilly has a family history of skin cancer.
“I wanted my clients to hear someone say that what they went through had real value,” said Reilly's attorney, N. Denise Asher.
The award included $3 million in general damages for Reilly's wife to compensate for the negative impact on the couple's marriage. Reilly won another $1.6 million for his own mental pain and suffering and $1.1 million for lost income.
Powers' attorney, Nancy Vaughan, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Reilly went through several surgeries to remove the cancer and is now is confined to his home where he receives 24-hour care.
The verdict exceeded a $5.3 million settlement in a malpractice case, also in San Diego, involving a brain-damaged infant and a $556,900 award in another misdiagnosis case.