Delayed Diagnosis of Cancer by Oral Surgeon Leading to Wrongful Death

Result: (Confidential Amount)

A woman from central Washington died due to metastatic squamous cell carcinoma which had its primary origin in her tongue. The tongue cancer began in 1995 as a small, white lesion on her tongue which her oral surgeon, over the course of 5 years, chose to watch instead of biopsy and remove. As a result of the oral surgeon’s failure to properly diagnose the squamous cell carcinoma (tongue cancer), the Perey Law Group client died in 2004. A wrongful death lawsuit was filed arguing it is the mandatory standard of care for an unexplained white patch in the oral cavity to be biopsied because they are often pre-malignant. The defense argued that the statute of limitations elapsed on the survivorship claim because the lawsuit was more than three years after the last treatment by the oral surgeon. We successful argued that under the survival statute, RCW 4.20.040, 4.20.060, and the wrongful death statue, RCW 4.20.0104.20.020, the woman’s husband and family could recover the amount damages for her personal injury resulting in death, and recover her post-death damages.