Kidney Cancer Diagnosis Delay: $6.8M Judgment

2018 Medical Malpractice Judgment

Wrongful death lawsuit against doctor affiliated with Lowell General Hospital

February 21, 2018 — Middlesex County Superior Court

Lubin & Meyer PC is pleased to report that attorneys Adam Satin and Lynn Hu have received a judgment in the amount of $6.8 million with interest in a medical malpractice wrongful death trial. The lawsuit alleged a delay in diagnosis of kidney cancer in a 54-year-old man by a doctor affiliated with Lowell General Hospital.


Trial Lawyer's Report (added March 15, 2018):

Delay in Diagnosis of Kidney Cancer

Primary care doctor fails to inform patient of blood in urine and fails to order workup to diagnose cause

On June 25, 2009, the decedent began seeing the defendant as a new PCP for issues related to hypertension. A urine sample was obtained and a screening dipstick test was done that showed blood in the urine. The sample was sent for microscopic analysis, which showed 2-3 red blood cells in the urine. The reference range was 0-2. The plaintiff produced evidence that the PCP never told the decedent that he had blood in his urine and did not refer the patient to a urologist for a complete urologic workup.

On July 6, 2009, the decedent returned for an annual physical exam. A screening urine dipstick test was normal and showed no blood in the urine, which the defendant claimed was further reassurance regarding the prior instance of blood in the urine.

The decedent had multiple follow up visits after this, but ultimately got a new PCP in May of 2011. A urine dipstick test was positive for blood in the urine and the microscopic analysis of that same sample showed 2 red blood cells per high powered field. A referral to a urologist was promptly made. The urologist did his own urine dipstick that also showed blood in the urine. Testing was ordered to evaluate the cause of the hematuria. The testing led to a diagnosis of renal cell carcinoma and the patient had his kidney removed. The pathology showed that the cancer had spread beyond the kidney. A few months later, the patient’s cancer was found to have spread to his lymph nodes. Eventually, the cancer spread to his liver, lungs and brain. The patient died from his metastatic renal cell cancer on December 31, 2014.

At trial, the plaintiff claimed that the original urine sample showing blood in the urine required referral to a urologist, which would have resulted in a proper workup that would have diagnosed the decedent’s cancer at an earlier stage. The defendants claimed that less than 3 red blood cells is not considered to be abnormal hematuria and does not require further evaluation. The plaintiff countered that any blood in the urine is abnormal and needs to be worked up as evidenced by the fact that the subsequent PCP and the urologist both ordered such further evaluation with results that were less than 3 red blood cells per high powered field.

Judgment on the verdict: $6,867,585.

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