Three Years After Cancer Treatment You Are Diagnosed With SVCS, Can You Sue?

The doctor gave you a clean bill of health, or so you thought. You are now starting to question that assessment. Over the last few weeks your energy level has diminished, you feel lethargic and your equilibrium is off. But, that assessment the doctor gave you was six months ago, so what changed?

After numerous tests and ruling out the common factors such as mononucleosis and cytomegalovirus the doctor comes back with a prognosis that doesn’t sound encouraging. Apparently the chemotherapy and radiation you received three years ago to fight cancer weakened and collapsed a vein carrying blood to your heart. The collapse took time. That’s why you were given a clean bill of health all those months ago and why now the doctor is preparing you for surgery. The physician needs to operate by opening up the vein to restore blood flow. Imagine trying to drink with a straw that’s been pinched at one end. Now imagine that straw is your vein. But instead of being pinched shut, it’s sealed shut with a heat gun.

The medical staff prep you for what’s to come. Because the vein needs to be widened, scraped and restored to a near as can be healthy status again, the procedure will be done in three parts. Those surgeries will stretch over a course of one year. Basically, allowing the vein to heal in between each treatment. Each treatment requires the doctor to spend several hours scraping, blowing up, and rooting out blood clots from the vein. And eventually transforming your near sealed vein back to fully restored.

But the question remains, was this the result of medical malpractice? Did the medical professionals who provided your cancer treatment inform you of the risks to your veins? And what about the Statute of Limitations when it comes to filing claims for injuries caused as a result of physician negligence?

Well, let’s address one question at a time.

Was your collapsed vein the direct result of medical malpractice? Probably not. The vein although collapsed and pinched shut may have eventually collapsed without the aid of radiation and chemotherapy treatment. Most likely you would have been diagnosed with SVC Syndrome.

Superior vena cava syndrome (SVCS) is an obstruction of blood flow through the superior vena cava (SVC). It is a medical emergency and most often manifests in patients with a malignant disease process within the thorax. A patient with SVCS requires immediate diagnostic evaluation and therapy.

That brings us to the second question…did the medical professionals warn you of the risks of radiation and chemotherapy? Most hospitals require that physicians, nurses and anyone providing treatment to a cancer patient be told of the risks before, during and after any and all medical procedures. Although not every risk factor can be mentioned to a patient, the patient knows that ultimately there are inherent risks to their life and those risks need to be weighed against the reward of a healthier life.

Now let’s address the final question…can you still file a medical malpractice claim if the injury was a result of a medical procedure that occurred past the Statute of Limitations? In Indiana there is a two year Statute of Limitations when it comes to filing a claim, however an exception to the general rule may arise if the patient did not know they were harmed by the medical malpractice until a later date. In that situation, the deadline may be extended if the patient can prove that the injury was not or could not have been discovered right away.

So why do I share this scenario with you? I share it to give you an insight on how a medical malpractice lawyer assesses a claim to see if it has merit. The challenges these cases present are many and varied and our team will work aggressively to overcome them. We also have experts at our disposal to help get to the truth of what happened. Our experienced injury attorneys are skilled at working to secure favorable settlements and jury awards if settlement is not possible.

But malpractice suits are rarely simple, and they are costly to fight. Sometimes the time and money needed to pursue compensation for an injury that is minor or heals quickly should not be spent. If you believe you have a medical malpractice claim, it is important to consult with an attorney who can help you determine whether your claim should be pursued.

The Law Offices of David W. Holub is a personal injury law firm located in Merrillville, Indiana, focused on providing efficient and effective client-centered representation. Our mission is to provide top quality legal representation, which includes an uncompromising pursuit of our client’s legal interests, while being accessible and attentive to our clients during times of personal challenge.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of medical negligence pick up the phone and call us at (219)736-9700 today.


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