Colon cancer case brings $1M settlement
2007 Medical Malpractice Trial Report
Medical malpractice case involving 58 year-old man who died from metastatic colon cancer plaintiff claims physician failure to recommend or perform colon cancer screening was negligent
The plaintiff's decedent was a 58 year-old man who died from metastatic colon cancer.
From 1997 through 2000, the plaintiff's decedent's complaints were unremarkable for colon cancer. In April 2001, the plaintiff's decedent had a new onset of low back pain that worsened with bending and sitting. He also experienced right-sided flank pain and a 6-pound weight loss. The defendant referred him to a chiropractor.
In December 2002, the plaintiff's decedent complained of right-sided flank pain and experienced a decrease in weight. On 12/23/02, he underwent a kidney, ureter, bladder (KUB) radiograph that revealed a considerable amount of solid fecal material in the ascending and transverse colon. In January 2003, he experienced constipation and an 8-pound weight loss. On 1/22/03, he presented to the defendant's office with right-sided flank pain and abdominal pain. The defendant noted that the plaintiff's decedent might need a barium enema in the future. On 2/28/03, the plaintiff's decedent presented to the defendant with abdominal pain with diarrhea. On 3/7/03, he stopped having bowel movements and underwent a barium enema. The following day, he was admitted to the Saint Luke's Emergency Room with increasing abdominal distention, pain, decreased bowel movements and guaiac positive stools. A barium enema on 3/10/03 revealed a complete obstruction of the distal sigmoid colon consistent with cancer. This finding was confirmed by a flexible sigmoidoscopy. On 3/10/03, the plaintiff's decedent underwent a right transverse colostomy for obstructing carcinoma of the sigmoid colon. Three days later, a CT scan revealed nodules, at least eight, on the right and left lobes of his liver. One of the right lobe liver nodules measured up to 5cm. Follow up studies also revealed possible lung metastasis to his right lower lobe. On 3/15/03, the plaintiff's decedent was discharged with terminal colon cancer. Subsequently, he underwent chemotherapy at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He died on July 15, 2005. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant was negligent in failing to offer, recommend, or perform colon cancer screening after the age of 50. The plaintiff further claimed that the defendant failed to recognize, appreciate and address the symptoms of cancer (low back pain, right flank pain, weight loss). The defendant contended that he was not negligent and that nothing he did or failed to do caused or contributed to the decedent's death. The defendant further claimed that he had discussed colorectal cancer screening with the plaintiff's decedent, and the decedent declined to undergo a colonoscopy. The case settled prior to trial for the full policy limits of $1,000,000.
Lubin & Meyer attorneys represented the plaintiff in this medical negligence lawsuit.
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