Failure to diagnose breast cancer
A 62-year-old Kentucky woman had been having routine mammograms since 2003. Between 2006 and 2010, her annual mammograms were read as normal by the same radiologist. In 2011 her mammogram was read by another radiologist as normal. A year later the woman’s mammogram showed several cancerous breast masses and the disease was found to have metastasized. She underwent a radical mastectomy and aggressive radiation, but her cancer was deemed incurable.
The woman sued the first radiologist, alleging that he misread her mammograms from 2006 to 2010. Her expert witness testified that in 2006, there was evidence of asymmetric density suggestive of cancer.
The radiologist denied any negligence in reading the mammograms and contended that his interpretation was reasonable.
THE VERDICT: The jury returned a defense verdict.
Blood vessels, bowel damaged in hysterectomy
A 46-year-old woman underwent a laparoscopic hysterectomy performed by an Illinois gynecologist. During the operation, the iliac artery, iliac vein, and small bowel were lacerated during trocar placement. The patient suffered severe bleeding and had a cardiac arrest. She was given large amounts of blood and a surgeon repaired the blood vessels and bowel. The patient was subsequently discharged from the hospital but returned after 1 day with a complaint of thrombosis, which resulted in a requirement for blood thinners for 1 year. During the year after the original surgery, the patient was informed that she received blood that was HIV-positive. Her initial HIV test came back negative.
The woman sued the gynecologist and alleged he deviated from the standard of care by performing a “blind trocar insertion,” which caused major vessels to be more susceptible to injury. The gynecologist denied that any care was below the standard.
THE VERDICT: A $383,000 verdict was returned for the woman, including $200,000 for past and future pain and suffering, $5000 for past and future loss of normal life, $5000 for disfigurement, $168,000 for past and future medical expenses, and $5000 for past and future loss of consortium.