Multiple Myeloma Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Settles for $1 Million
Medical Malpractice Settlement Report, 2021
By Krysia J. Syska, Medical Malpractice Attorney
Middlesex Superior Court
Delay in diagnosis and treatment of multiple myeloma results in death of 72-year-old man
The patient began treatment with defendant hematologist in July 2011 due to anemia of unclear etiology. Defendant noted it may be an early myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), evidenced by anemia and a slightly increased MCV. She noted she would not be inclined to perform bone marrow evaluation, unless there were changes in his clinical status or further drops in hematocrit.
Lab work in September and November 2011 continued to show anemia. Plaintiff’s expert opined that the standard of care required the defendant to consider multiple myeloma as part of a differential diagnosis for the unexplained anemia, and obtain a bone marrow biopsy. This was not done throughout 2011.
In 2012 the decedent had several visits with the defendant. He had undergone GI workup to rule out a bleed as the cause of persistent anemia. HCT and MCV remained unchanged and it was noted he may have stable MDS that would require no treatment other than observation. Defendant did state that biopsy at some point in the future would be considered if his HCT dropped further. Plaintiff’s expert opined bone marrow biopsy was required 2012 even without further HCT drop. This was not done.
In January 2013 decedent was ill and underwent CT scan of his chest. Defendant radiologist failed to recognize the presence of lytic lesions within the thoracic spine concerning for metastatic disease consistent with multiple myeloma.
In September 2013, follow up chest CT was done and again the presence of now larger lytic lesions in the thoracic spine were missed.
In November 2013 decedent returned to defendant hematologist for evaluation. She noted it was “high time” he undergoes bone marrow biopsy even though HCT was stable. Before his scheduled biopsy decedent lost control of his left leg. A CT scan revealed numerous lytic lesions. The largest was at T5 and had been visible on both prior studies. It had now destroyed the vertebral body and a portion of the posterior elements and was touching the cord. Surgery was done emergently however it resulted in paraplegia.
Pathology from the procedure revealed myeloma stage III. Chemotherapy was to be immediately started, however, decedent decompensated and on 12/19/13 he coded and died. His causes of death were noted to be septic shock, multiple myeloma, and pancytopenia.
Parties resolved the case for $1,000,000 in advance of trial scheduled for 2023.
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