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Kern v. St. Joseph’s Hospital
Citation:697 P.2d 135 (N.M. 1985).
Decedent was diagnosed and received external beam radiation treatment for cancer of the bladder. The treatment was to include 30 treatments of radiation; however, Decedent only received 25 treatments before treatment was terminated in September 1977. When Decedent and his wife asked Simmons why he discontinued treatment, Simmons allegedly stared off in the other direction and provided no explanation.
Following treatment, Decedent experienced problems with frequency of urination and passing of blood in his bowel movements and urine. Decedent died from complications in August 1982. His official cause of death, listed on the death certificate, was sepsis-urinary tract infection due to or as a consequence of irradiation cystitis and procitis and/or urinary bladder cancer.
Both Decedent and his wife believed the complications he experienced were normal symptoms of radiation treatment. They did not suspect he had been given an excessive amount of radiation until reading a newspaper article about excessive radiation treatment in 1981 at St. Joseph’s Hospital. After reading the article, they hired a lawyer to investigate the propriety of Decedent‘s treatment.
The lawsuit was filed in March 1983 by Plaintiff-petitioner on behalf of Decedent’s estate, alleging negligence in the administration of the radiation therapy.
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