Medical Malpractice – Gastroenterologist Failed to Diagnose Colorectal Cancer
In 2011, our client, a 48-year-old father, underwent a colonoscopy after experiencing blood in his stool, including a large blood clot. The gastroenterologist who performed the colonoscopy only found hemorrhoids and recommended yearly stool examination and a follow-up colonoscopy in 10 years. Four years later, in 2015, our client’s symptoms suddenly escalated, and he was diagnosed with of stage IIIC colorectal cancer.
Our team of experts included an expert gastroenterologist, an expert oncologist, an expert colon and rectal surgeon, and an expert pathologist. Our experts found that the defendant gastroenterologist who performed the 2011 colonoscopy fell below the standard of care in his evaluation and treatment of our client. For example, our experts concluded that the gastroenterologist performed the colonoscopy with little attention to recognized quality metrics in endoscopy, causing him to fail to detect neoplasia (new, uncontrolled growth of cells that is not under physiologic control) in the rectum where our client ultimately was identified with cancer. There was no evidence that the gastroenterologist performed a standard maneuver in the rectum known as a retroflex maneuver which led to missing low lesions (polyps or cancer) in the rectum. Our experts concluded that these failures increased the risk of harm to our client in that his chance of being cured with surgery in 2011 would have been significantly higher if the gastroenterologist had properly detected and diagnosed his cancer.
Now, at 57 years old, our client lives with cancer that has metastasized to his lungs per diagnosis in early 2018. According to his doctors, the delay in diagnosis has significantly reduced his life expectancy. He has undergone extensive medical care including multiple surgeries, catheterization for 7 months, over 40 days and nights in hospitals as an in-patient, numerous rounds of chemotherapy and radiation treatment, and he is forced to live with a permanent colostomy bag. Our client’s medical care is ongoing – he continues to endure an ongoing and exhausting regimen of chemotherapy by infusion. He will have to undergo chemotherapy for the rest of his life. Our team of experts concluded that if our client had received adequate care in 2011, then he would not have had to endure life-changing medical treatment including a permanent colostomy, nor would he have suffered from urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction. Our client also suffered a significant loss in earning capacity due to the cancer’s impact on his ability to work, which would have been avoided if the gastroenterologist had met the standard of care years earlier in 2011. After extensive litigation, we obtained for our client a favorable settlement.