$60k for man wrongly told he had terminal cancer

CT scanner

Mark Templin, a retiree from Montana, has been awarded $60,000 damages, after wrongly being told he had terminal brain cancer and just six months to live. Templin had sold his possessions, held a 'final' birthday party and bought a funeral package. However, when he started to feel better he went for more tests. At that point it emerged that he didn't have cancer at all.

He has been awarded the sum to repay expenses and provide compensation. But he is far from the only person to have been a victim of this sort of misdiagnosis.
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Mistake

According to local paper, The Independent Record, Templin had gone into hospital in January 2009 because he was suffering chest pains, and he had a stent inserted. Weeks later he was having headaches and problems with his memory, vision and speech.

He had a CT scan, which Dr Patrick Morrow of Fort Harrison VA Medical Center said showed a brain abnormality which could be a brain tumour, stroke or something else. The radiologist recommended further tests. However, Morrow met with the hospital board later that day and presented the case as a strong suspicion of brain cancer.

According to The Daily Mail, Morrow told the trial that he advised further tests, but these did not show on Templin's medical records. He was prescribed medication for brain cancer, ordered to go into a hospice, and his family were told he would die.

In the following months he gave up his job, sold his truck, held a 'last' birthday party, and bought a funeral package.

However, when he started feeling better he left the hospice and went for further tests - which revealed he did not have cancer.

The judge said: "It is difficult to put a price tag on the anguish of a man wrongly convinced of his impending death." He added: "Mr Templin lived for 148 days ... under the mistaken impression that he was dying of metastatic brain cancer."

He awarded him $500 a day for the period when he believed he was drying of brain cancer, and $300 a day for the period between discovering it wasn't cancer and finding out it was a series of small strokes that had affected him. He also had the cost of the party and funeral paid. He received a total of $59,820.

Not alone

It's a horrifying tale, but what's even more horrifying is that he is far from alone in suffering a cancer misdiagnosis.

In the UK in 2007, 72-year-old Doreen Nicholls was diagnosed with cancer in her leg. She had it removed below the knee to stop it spreading. It was only after the operation that tests revealed there was no cancer in her leg. She received a six-figure compensation payment.

In 2009, a 45-year-old mother of two from the South West of England was incorrectly diagnosed with fatal liver cancer and told she had months to live. She had suffered breast cancer five years earlier and after a CT scan was given the diagnosis. In fact, she had a non-cancerous growth - which she only learned a month later. She took a year to come to terms with what happened, and received a settlement of £6,000 from the NHS Trust.

Then there was the 67-year-old who was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2004. The pensioner, from Rugeley in Staffordshire, was given what she thought was life-saving surgery, to remove her stomach. It was only after the operation she learned that the tumour was benign and her stomach had been removed needlessly. She received an out of court settlement from Mid Staffordshire General Hospitals NHS Trust.

In each case there were different circumstances, with different doctors interpreting results of tests incorrectly, or failing to carry out sufficient tests before giving a diagnosis.

In each case, the victims said that no amount of money could make up for the mistake.

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$60k for man wrongly told he had terminal cancer

Using a mobile phone to make and receive calls, send texts and browse the web while abroad can be extremely costly – especially if you are travelling outside the European Union (EU), where calls can cost up to 10 times as much as at home.

To avoid high charges, Carphone Warehouse suggests tourists ensure a data cap is in place, use applications to check data usage, turn off 'data roaming', avoid data-intensive applications such as Google Maps and YouTube and use wi-fi spots to update social networking sites.

Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) is supposed to help people to continue meeting their loan, mortgage or credit card repayments if they fall ill or lose their jobs. However, policies are often over-priced, riddled with exclusions and sold to people who could not make a claim if they needed to.

At one point, sale of this cover - which was often included automatically in loan repayments - was estimated to boost the banks' profits by up to £5 billion a year.
Now, though, consumers who were mis-sold PPI can fight back by complaining to the bank or lender concerned and taking their case to the Financial Ombudsman Service (08000 234567) should the response prove unsatisfactory.

It could be you, but let's face it, it probably won't be. In fact, buying a ticket for the Lotto only gives you a 1 in 13.9 million chance of winning the jackpot.

With odds like that, you would almost certainly be better off hanging on to your cash and saving it in a high-interest account.

No-frills airlines such as EasyJet may promote rock-bottom prices on their websites. But the overall fare you pay can be surprisingly high once extras such as luggage and credit card payment fees have been added - a process known as drip pricing.

Taking one piece of hold baggage on a return EasyJet flight, for example, adds close to £20 to the cost of your flight, while paying by credit card increases the price by a further £10.
It may therefore be worth comparing the total cost with that of a flight with a standard airline such as British Airways.

Cash advances, which include cash withdrawals, are generally charged at a much higher rate of interest than standard purchases.

While the average credit card interest rate is around 17%, a typical cash withdrawal of £500, for example, is charged at more than 26%.
What's more, as the interest accrues from the date of the transaction, rather than the next payment date, costs will mount up even if you clear your balance in full with your next payment.

Supermarkets such as Tesco and Asda often run promotions under which you can, for example, get three products for the price of two.

However, it is only worth taking advantage of these deals if you will actually use the products. Otherwise, you are simply buying for the sake of it, which is a waste of your hard-earned cash.
To avoid paying over the odds, it is also worth checking the price per kilo to ensure that larger 'economy' packs really are cheaper than the smaller versions.

Buy a train ticket at the station on the day of travel and the price is likely to give you a shock - especially if you are travelling a long distance at a busy time of day.

However, you can cut the cost of train travel by 50% or more by going online and making the purchase beforehand - especially if you book 12 weeks in advance, which is when the cheapest tickets are on sale.
Other ways to reduce the price you pay include avoiding peak times and taking advantage of so-called carnet tickets, which allow you to buy, for example, 12 journeys for the price of 10.

Most High Street banks offer packaged accounts that come with monthly fees ranging from £6.50 up to as much as £40, with a typical account charging about £15 per month.

Various benefits, such as travel insurance and mobile phone insurance, are offered in return for this fee. But whether or not it is worth paying for them depends on your individual circumstances.
Before signing up, it is therefore essential to check that you will make use of enough of the benefits, and that you cannot get them for less elsewhere.

Overseas money transfers or travel money purchases attract the same high rate of interest as credit card cash withdrawals.

Worse still, most credit cards – and debit cards – also charge you a foreign loading fee if you use them to make purchases while abroad.
You can, however, avoid these charges by using a Saga Platinum or Nationwide Building Society credit card.

Numbers starting 0871 cost 10p or more from a landline, while those starting 09 can cost more than £1 a minute from a mobile phone.

And the operators of these high-cost phone lines, some of which are banks, often get a cut of the call charges.
Most 09 numbers are linked to scams and should therefore be avoided at all costs, while 0871 numbers can often be bypassed by searching for an alternative local rate numbers on the saynoto0870.com.
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