Late Diagnosis of Cervical Cancer Results in $1.9 Million Settlement

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.

During the fibroid surgery, it was discovered that DaCosta was suffering from widespread Stage IV cervical cancer. Despite chemotherapy and radiation, DaCosta, 41, died a year and a half after her diagnosis. She was survived by her husband and two minor children.

Her husband, individually, and on behalf of the couple’s children, sued Dr. Olivera, her group and her employers during the treatment period, claiming that they chose not to timely diagnose cervical cancer.

The lawsuit alleged that Dr. Olivera failed to follow up on the test results by scheduling a colposcopy, chose not to tell DaCosta about the test results and failed to rule out cervical cancer in view of her symptoms.

The DaCosta family also alleged that the pathologist and group were responsible for misinterpreting tissue samples taken a year before the cancer diagnosis. The lawsuit did not claim past loss income. The pathologist settled for an undisclosed amount. The remaining defendants — Dr. Olivera and her practice group — settled for $1.9 million including $800,000 from Dr. Olivera and her medical practice.

The attorneys successfully handling this tragic case were Cliff Wengus and Jeffrey Haas.

The DaCosta family attorneys engaged experts in vocational rehabilitation and economics.

DaCosta v. Valleycare Medical Foundation, No. RG-14-733332 (Cal. Super Ct. Alameda County).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling misdiagnosis of cancer lawsuits, medical negligence lawsuits, wrongful death cases and birth injury lawsuits for individuals, families and loved ones who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 40 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Rosemont, Park Forest, Park Ridge, Orland Park, Olympia Fields, Homewood, Highwood, Highland Park, Summit, Bridgeview, Bedford Park, Crestwood, Oak Lawn, Blue Island, Harvey, Chicago (Andersonville, Bronzeville, Lakeview, Lincoln Square, West Ridge, Edgebrook, Jefferson Park, Irving Park, Chinatown, Canaryville, Chatham, Jackson Park), Hillside, Evanston, Harwood Heights, Brookfield, Western Springs, Lemont, Fox River Grove, Lisle and Northfield, Ill.

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