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Case #4017 Delayed Cancer Diagnosis Lead to Wrongful Death


The Decedent presented to the Defendant surgeon in September when she was 19-years old with a history of having had blood in her stool three months earlier.  The Defendant diagnosed the patient with a healing anal fissure.  He did not order a flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy.  In May, four years later, the Decedent presented to a gastroenterologist with complaints of bloody diarrhea.  A flexible sigmoidoscopy was performed which identified a 3.6 cm lesion in the rectum, 10 cm. from the anal verge.  The lesion was biopsied and revealed a low grade adenocarcinoma.  Imaging studies revealed that the cancer had spread to the Decedent’s lungs and liver.  She was diagnosed with Stage IV rectal cancer.  The patient underwent extensive treatment including surgical resection, conventional and experimental chemotherapy and radiation therapy.  The Plaintiff died of her cancer in July, 2 years after diagnosis.  The Plaintiffs alleged that the Defendant negligently failed to perform an endoscopic examination of the Decedent’s bowel.  Had the Defendant conformed to the standards of care and ordered a flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy in September 2006, a polyp or early stage cancer would have been identified and would have been surgically removed.  The patient would have been cured and would not have needed any further treatment.  The Defendant denied all allegations of negligence and harm.

The jury found in favor of the Plaintiffs and awarded a total $2,512,178.68 to her Estate and to her parents.  No offer of settlement was made prior to trial.

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