$1.5 Million Settlement in Endometrial Cancer Death

2009 Medical Malpractice Trial Report

Plaintiff alleged follow up on pathology report that was insufficient for diagnosis would have detected endometrial cancer

A 58-year-old unmarried woman with no children died on 12/30/05 from endometrial cancer, leaving the residue of her estate to the Environmental Defense Fund. She had undergone an endometrial biopsy on 6/30/00 for postmenopausal bleeding. On 7/5/00, pathology reported blood, mucus, and scant endocervical epithelium with immature squamous metaplasia, and glycogenated squamous epithelium. There was no edometrium cells present and thus the tissue was insufficient for diagnosis.

On 7/10/00, defendant nurse practitioner reviewed the patient’s chart at 8:52 a.m. There is no indication in the record that the nurse practitioner discussed the results of the 6/30/00 endometrial biopsy specimen that had been reported insufficient for diagnosis on 7/5/00. On this same day, the defendant gynecologist also reviewed the endometrial biopsy pathology report at 11:48 a.m. and 12:38 p.m. and failed to order, perform, or refer the patient for a repeat endometrial biopsy.

The patient continued to see the defendant gynecologist for two years for annual visits and specific complaints, and the defendant failed to realize the prior endometrial biopsy was insufficient and failed to repeat it.

On 5/28/02, the defendant gynecologist ordered another endometrial biopsy due to recent symptoms. The endometrial biopsy pathology reported moderately differentiated, grade 2 of 3 adenosquamous carcinoma.

On 6/25/02, the patient underwent an exploratory laparotomy, total abdominal hysterectomy, bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, omentectomy, and bilateral pelvic and periaortic lymph node dissection. On 7/2/02, the pathology reported nuclear grade III endometriod adenocarcinoma of the left ovary, uterus, cervix, right ovary, and right fallopian tube. There was no evidence of malignancy in the pelvic lymph nodes, para-aortic lymph nodes, or the omentum. The patient was treated with chemotherapy and radiation. Unfortunately, a chest CT dated 12/20/04 revealed multiple pulmonary nodules consistent with metastatic disease and scattered sclerotic foci in the bones suspicious for metastatic disease. On 1/14/05, the patient started a new chemotherapy treatment. On 10/04/05, the patient underwent a follow-up chest, abdominal, and pelvis CT scan which reported continued progression of the metastatic disease within the lungs. She died on 12/30/05.

The plaintiff alleged that the defendants should have followed up on the pathology report from 2000 that showed insufficient endometrial cells, and that had this been done the cancer would have been found in 2000. The defense contended that the patient never had endometrial cancer, but rather she died from ovarian cancer as some of the diagnostic pathology suggested.

The case settled for $1,500,000.

Lubin & Meyer lawyers represented the plaintiff in this medical malpractice lawsuit.

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