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Did the Washington Redskins Commit Medical Malpractice?


The Washington Redskins’ season is in the tank, and one of the major reasons was the holdout of standout offensive lineman Trent Williams. Williams claims that the Redskins’ team doctors did not respond appropriately to the sudden appearance of a growth on his head that turned out to be a tumor. Williams began the season as a holdout in part due to his distaste with how the Redskins managed his condition.

Williams was diagnosed with dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans, a rare type of cancer that affects the skin. He described team doctors as being unconcerned in responding to his injury. Williams says that Redskins doctors minimized the severity of his condition calling it “just a cyst.”  The condition worsened over the next few years until Williams eventually had the lump removed and tested. It turned out that the cyst was cancerous after Redskins’ medical personal had the lump tested.

Did the Redskins Commit Medical Malpractice? 

The NFL has its own specific rules when it comes to team doctors as part of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement. Additional rules apply to disclosure of details in certain situations, so the Redskins have not been able to comment other than to say they take player safety very seriously. However, Trent Williams appears to have a valid complaint against team doctors.

The Redskins’ doctors appear to have downplayed the severity of Williams’ condition and allowed it to get worse without ordering tests that could have prevented the progression of his condition. However, Williams may not have suffered any significant damages to sue over if that option avails itself to him. Williams says he suffered some nerve damage but whether that injury is sufficient enough to sue over appears in doubt.

On the other hand, Williams’ complaint appears to be valid, and it brings up concerns about conflicts of interest between team doctors, who work for the football team, and the quality of their care when it comes to players who are in their care.

Concussions and Team Doctors 

Williams’ allegations also reflect on a growing trend in the NFL to take concussions more seriously. Since several NFL players have suffered multiple concussions in their lifetime and the impact that these concussions have had on their quality of life is now more thoroughly understood, the NFL has instituted a “concussion protocol” to ensure that players are fully healed from their concussions before they are allowed to play again.

This relates to what is known as “second concussion syndrome.”  Those who suffer a second concussion before their first concussion has healed are at increased risk of suffering permanent brain damage. The brain has an internal mechanism to prevent overswelling of the brain. However, this internal mechanism is short-circuited when one person suffers a second concussion before the first has healed.

Talk to a Tampa Medical Malpractice Attorney 

If you’ve been injured as a result of medical negligence, the St. Petersburg medical malpractice attorneys at Masterson, Hoag & Smith can help you recover damages related to your injuries. Talk to us today for a free consultation.





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