A judge in Montana has ordered a hospital to pay almost $60,000 to a man after incorrectly diagnosing him with brain cancer and telling him he had only a few months to live.
U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy ordered the Fort Harrison VA Medical Center to compensate Mark Templin and his family for the distress they suffered because of Dr. Patrick Morrow's "negligent failure to meet the standard of care" in delivering the 2009 diagnosis.
Molloy decided Templin should receive an award of $500 per day for the initial period of severe mental and emotional distress immediately after the diagnosis.
After being told he was going to die, Templin quit his job, sold his pickup truck, celebrated a "last" birthday, contemplated suicide and even bought a prearranged funeral service. His son-in-law also constructed a box to hold his ashes.
As Templin began to feel better, he underwent more testing that eventually revealed that he had suffered several small strokes. The judge ordered that he receive $300 per day for that time period. Including repayment for cost of the birthday party and funeral, Templin was awarded $59,820, CBS Local reported.
"It is difficult to put a price tag on the anguish of a man wrongly convinced of his impending death," Molloy wrote in his decision. "Mr. Templin lived for 148 days ... under the mistaken impression that he was dying of metastatic brain cancer."
He added: “While under the impression that he was afflicted with metastatic brain cancer, Mr. Templin wondered each day whether it would be his last.”
Templin, who's in his 70s, was given two drugs to treat brain cancer. One of those drugs was not supposed to be prescribed to stroke patients.
He also was ordered to undergo hospice care.