Medical Malpractice - Failure To Diagnose Rectal Cancer - $750,000

Injuries Alleged: Advancement of cancer/Wrongful Death
Court: Withheld
Amount of Settlement: $750,000

Case Summary:
Plaintiff's decedent presented to his primary care physician (defendant) with a complaint of rectal bleeding. He had been examined the week before in urgent care for the same complaint when a physical examination revealed a bleeding hemorrhoid. Anoscopy showed no other lesions. Patient's complaints included "blood mixed with stool." No follow up was ordered by the defendant. Four months later, plaintiff's decedent again presented to his primary care physician with complaints of rectal bleeding and again blood mixed with stool. Although the defendant noted that this was "probably hemorrhoids," this time he referred plaintiff's decedent to a gastroenterologist, who recommended flexible sigmoidoscopy, leading to the discovery of a large rectal mass. Subsequent study revealed invasive adenocarcinoma which had spread to plaintiff's decedent's lungs. Despite chemotherapy and radiation therapy, plaintiff's decedent died 22 months after his initial presentation.

Plaintiff was prepared to present expert testimony that the defendant primary care physician failed to conform with applicable standards of care at the time. With a complaint of blood mixed with stool, standards of care required the defendant to either perform flexible sigmoidoscopy or refer the patient out for such testing. Plaintiff was also prepared to present expert testimony that as a result of this delay in diagnosis of slightly more than four months, the plaintiff's rectal cancer had progressed. The defendant was prepared to present testimony that the delay in diagnosis, if any, was too short and resulted in no harm to the plaintiff's decedent.

The case settled approximately one month before the scheduled trial date.