It's easy to envision the serious repercussions of doctor errors or medical mistakes when treating a patient. But what about the repercussions of no treatment? What happens when a doctor makes a misdiagnosis or simply fails to diagnose something entirely?

The family of a man recently won an award of $5.9 million in a medical malpractice suit against a New York VA hopsital. The man died from complications during a bariatric surgery. The surgery followed a inexcusable failure to diagnose a gastric lead in the patient.

The hospital claimed that they missed the leak because he was too overweight to fit inside their CT scanner. Evidence showed that the medical staff considered sending the patient to another location where there was a table that might sustain his weight. They apparently never followed up.

The gastric leak wasn't found until a few months later and by that time, the man had extensive infections and eventually died a painful death at a nursing home. He was only 54 years old and left a family behind. Because the VA hospital was the defendant in the case, a federal judge presided. The judge stated that the victim suffered persistent and "gnawing" pain for nearly three years.

The award gives $5 million to the man's wife and the remaining money to the couple's three children.

Patients who are injured because of the negligence of any medical profession, have the ability to recover money for those injuries. Negligent care can include these tragic instances of failing to diagnose symptoms. Unfortunately, the patient in this case did not survive but the family of the victim is often able to recover in a wrongful death claim against the same negligent party.

Source: New York Daily News, "SUPER-SIZED PAYOUT! Court orders feds to fork over $5.9 million in massive malpractice award to the family of deceased 500-pound cabbie," John Marzulli, Dec. 20, 2012