$750,000 settlement: Wrongful death from endometrial cancer

2005 Medical Malpractice Settlement Report

Failure to diagnose and treat endometrial cancer results in death of a 55 year-old woman

In late 1995, the plaintiff’s decedent reported to her internist that her menstrual cycle was recently prolonged and accompanied by heavy cramping. It was suggested at that time that the plaintiff’s decedent should be seen by a gynecologist and undergo an endometrial biopsy - a scraping of the lining of the uterus to check for cancer.

In March of 1996, the plaintiff’s decedent went to the defendant gynecologist for a physical exam and an endometrial biopsy. In his office chart, the defendant noted that the uterus was clear and that the cells from the endometrial biopsy were negative. He attributed the bleeding to DUB (Dysfunctional Urine Bleeding—bleeding from the uterine endometrium unrelated to any cancer of the uterus). Contrary to the defendant’s own note however, the surgical pathology report indicated that no endometrial tissue was seen on the biopsy specimen. This indicates that no tissue from the endometrial lining of the uterus was obtained, hence the test could not rule-out cancer in this woman with bleeding.

Throughout the remainder of 1996, the plaintiff’s decedent was examined by the defendant on 4 other occasions. On each visit, the plaintiff’s decedent indicated that she had had some bleeding since the last visit. The defendant treated the plaintiff’s decedent with hormones for the bleeding and noted several times that she might benefit from a D&C but there was no evidence that he ever ordered the procedure.

In February of 1997, the plaintiff’s decedent was seen by her primary physician and reported she was experiencing constant pelvic pain and bleeding. The plaintiff’s decedent was referred back to the defendant in April of 1997 for further treatment. The defendant finally performed a pelvic ultrasound which demonstrated an enlarged endometrium containing a 1 cm. mass. A D&C was performed by the defendant and confirmed that the plaintiff’s decedent had a moderately well differentiated endometroid adenocarcinoma.

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

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