Medical Negligence in ER Delays Woman’s Cancer Diagnosis, Minimizing Her Chances of Survival; Settled for $370,000

06-13-2013
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A 52-year-old peri-menopausal woman presented to an ER with right lower quadrant pain radiating to the right kidney. A CT scan was done and orally reported by the radiologist to the ER physician as showing no evidence of appendicitis, but an enlarged lymph node was seen. The ER physician discharged the patient based on the oral report. The radiologist’s later report mentioned the possibility of cancer, but that report was never seen by the ER physician or the patient’s primary care physician.

Four months later the patient presented with abdominal pain and bloating. A CT scan revealed bilaterally enlarged ovaries and multiple matted retroperitoneal lymph nodes. A diagnosis of incurable ovarian cancer was made.

The presence of the enlarged lymph node in the earlier study conferred on the patient a terminal diagnosis. But it was argued that surgery at that time would have extended her life by up to two additional years.

The defense offered no money to resolve the case. A judge returned a verdict in the patient’s favor for $370,000 plus costs of litigation. Daniel M. Hodes represented the patient.

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