Michael Shimko was 17 years old when he went to the Geisinger-Kistler Clinic for treatment of what he thought was a hemorrhoid. A second-year resident, Dr. Christian Basque, diagnosed a hemorrhoid without examining Shimko. Dr. Basque prescribed a rectal suppository.
Eight months later, Shimko’s mother contacted Dr. Stephen Evans, Shimko’s family physician, and reported that the supposed hemorrhoid, which she described as a lump on his buttocks, had become large and painful. Dr. Evans reviewed Shimko’s medical records, refilled the suppository prescription and instructed the staff to refer Shimko to a colorectal surgeon. The referral was never made.
Over the next fourteen months, after Shimko’s initial visit to the clinic, he became unable to sit, prompting a visit to an urgent care clinic. There, medical providers diagnosed a complex pilonidal abscess. A pilonidal abscess or cyst occurs in the cleft at the top of the buttocks. The cyst and abscess can cause severe pain and often becomes infected.