Articles Posted in Misdiagnosing Cancer

This case arises out of a medical malpractice lawsuit alleged to have been prompted by the negligence of a radiologist. Courtney Webster had a CT scan performed at CDI Indiana LLC‘s diagnostic imaging facility. The radiologist, an independent contractor hired by Medical Scanning Consultants, missed identifying and diagnosing the cancer, which then remained untreated for over a year before being diagnosed.

Webster and her husband, Brian Webster, sued CDI, which in turn insisted that the Websters could not hold it liable because CDI did not directly employ the radiologist who was at fault for not recognizing the cancer.

The district court rejected that argument and applied the law of apparent agency, which instructs that a medical provider is liable if a patient reasonably relied on its apparent authority over the wrongdoer.
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A chest X-ray of Marilyn Day, 76, revealed a suspicious lung mass several weeks after she had been admitted to Firelands Regional Medical Center. She was suffering from leg weakness, confusion and disorientation when she was admitted. A repeat X-ray showed the mass had shrunk.

An MRI of the brain revealed multiple ring-enhancing lesions with restricted diffusion, consistent with a brain abscess or metastatic cancer. Neurologist Dr. Jean Barylski Danner examined Day and reviewed the MRI. She told Day’s family that she was likely suffering from metastatic brain cancer.

Testing for lung cancer was negative. After an infectious disease consultation, and a week after Day’s consultation with Dr. Barylski Danner, she was administered antibiotics to treat a brain abscess. A neurosurgeon performed an aspiration procedure.
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Courtney Webster was diagnosed as having rectal cancer when she was 41 years old. Five years later, she underwent a CT scan at CDI Indiana Center for Diagnostic Imaging after she experienced constipation and noticed blood in her stools.

An independent contractor physician interpreted the CT test and did not mention an abnormal rectal mass. Eighteen months later, Webster underwent a colonoscopy, which showed rectal cancer. A follow-up CT scan showed a soft-tissue rectal mass and indications of metastasis. Webster, whose cancer is now Stage IV, will most likely die from the disease in the near term.

Webster and her husband sued the Center for Diagnostic Imaging, Inc. d/b/a CDI Indiana, LLC and CDI Indianapolis, alleging liability for the independent contractor’s choosing not to report the presence of a rectal mass on the first CT scan.
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Over a period of seven years that began in May 2008, Ms. Doe, 50, presented to an HMO complaining of a dime-sized lesion on her right lower leg. Ms. Doe was seen by dermatologists and vascular surgeons. A Doppler study was completed. The doctors dressed the wound and did debridement.

In 2015, a biopsy revealed basal cell carcinoma. Ms. Doe required an extensive incision and suffered significant scarring and muscle loss.

Ms. Doe and her husband sued the HMO alleging that they choose not to timely diagnose the cancer when it was evident. The defendant argued that it had met the standard of care and that its actions had been reasonable considering Ms. Doe’s significant venous insufficiency. There was no claim for lost income.

Hamidan Mahamad underwent an annual gynecological checkup performed by an obstetrician, Dr. Herbert Mosberg, an employee of Hollis Women’s Center. Mahamad was in her middle 60s at the time of this exam. A routine transvaginal ultrasound showed the presence of free fluid in Mahamad’s pelvis, which was not there on previous ultrasounds.

Dr. Mosberg said that the latest test was normal. However, nine months later, Mahamad was diagnosed as having ovarian cancer that had metastasized to her uterus, liver and other organs.

In spite of several rounds of chemotherapy and surgery, Mahamad passed away from her illness about two years later. She is survived by her two adult children.
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Rita DaCosta underwent a Pap smear and HPV test. Her treating gynecologist, Dr. Michelle Olivera, was informed that the test results were abnormal. Dr. Olivera instructed her medical assistant to contact DaCosta and schedule a colposcopy. DaCosta never learned about the test results.

Less than a year later, she met with Dr. Olivera, who had joined a different practice. She reported heavy and irregular bleeding, as well as lower abdominal cramping. Dr. Olivera prescribed birth control pills.

DaCosta, who repeated these complaints when she met with Dr. Olivera the following year, was told that she suffered from five fibroids and that the bleeding resulted from steroid use. DaCosta was referred for fibroid surgery.
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William Mann had a history of smoking. He underwent a routine physical including a chest x-ray, which was interpreted as normal. However, three years later, he was diagnosed as having metastatic lung cancer.

In spite of chemotherapy, radiation and other cancer treatments, including a procedure to reinforce the bones in his back, he died 20 months after the diagnosis. He was 58 years old and was survived by his wife and four adult children at the time of his death.

The Mann family sued the United States alleging that the Veterans Administration (VA) radiologist chose not to identify a suspicious 1.5-centimeter density on the left lung visible on the chest x-ray done three years before Mann’s fatal diagnosis.
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David Robinson, who was in his 30s, found blood in his stool. He went to the office of his primary care physician, Dr. William Elder, where he was seen by a physician assistant, David Lamport. Lamport did a cursory physical examination and diagnosed internal hemorrhoids as the origin of blood in Robinson’s stool.

Unfortunately, eight months later, when Robinson’s symptom of blood in his stool persisted, he underwent a colonoscopy, which showed Stage IV colon cancer; it had spread to his liver.

In spite of cancer treatment, Robinson died within a year. He had been working in his family business earning approximately $90,000 per year. He was survived by his wife and three young daughters.
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Albert Ragin experienced unexplained weight loss and night sweating. At the time he was in his 80s. CT scans without contrast of his chest, abdomen, and pelvis revealed a left kidney cyst, but there were no other kidney abnormalities.

About a year later, in 2013, a renal artery Doppler test showed a possible aortic dissection. Ragin subsequently underwent several CT scans with contrast.

An employee of the defendant in this case, Advanced Radiology, interpreted the CT scans as showing no aortic dissection and no kidney abnormalities except for the several cysts in both kidneys.
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A 6-year-old child suffered from fatigue, constipation, fever, pain and sleeping difficulties for several weeks. The girl was brought to a federal health clinic by her parents. A nurse practitioner examined her, diagnosed constipation and prescribed a suppository and juice. Two days later, a pediatrician confirmed the same misdiagnosis and prescribed MiraLax.

The child’s condition continued to deteriorate. Her parents brought her to the hospital a few days later. At that time, an x-ray showed a massive distension of the child’s spleen and an enlarged liver.

The girl was then life-flighted to another hospital where she was diagnosed as having acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
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