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Renee Flora had a growth removed from her big toe in the spring of 2004 by a local podiatrist and all seemed good. Until a year later when the New Carlisle woman received bad news – the then, 33-year-old nurse’s aide and mother of two small children had malignant melanoma.

A St. Joseph Superior Court jury has found podiatrist Dr. W. Douglas Kolmodin liable for medical malpractice, concluding that Renee Flora’s odds at beating the cancer were greatly reduced because he failed to have tissue from the excised growth tested for cancer.

Now in stage three of the cancer, she has just a 17 percent chance of living another 12 years, according to national cancer statistics, said her attorney.

The jury awarded the woman and her husband more than $8.1 min damages last week at the end of a five-day trial.

According to court records and testimony, the doctor had placed the lesion in a container and he told the company he would send it for testing.

That, however, was the last day the doctor practiced in that office before his move to another building when the specimen was allegedly lost.

The doctor denies the specimen was lost, but rather, it disintegrated upon removal and there was nothing left to send for testing. However, three podiatrists who reviewed the case for the Indiana Department of Insurance concluded there should have been enough tissue for testing.

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