Delay in ovarian cancer diagnosis
A 64-year-old Illinois woman presented to her primary care physician with complaints of worsening abdominal pain, fatigue, and unexplained weight loss. The physician diagnosed gastritis and the patient was treated for that. She then went to another physician, who did imaging studies that resulted in a diagnosis of Stage IV ovarian clear cell carcinoma.
The woman sued the primary care physician and alleged that the standard of care required him to order tests to assess her original complaints. She alleged that timely imaging would have diagnosed her ovarian cancer at Stage I or II, which has a 90% survival rate at 10 years, instead of at Stage IV, which has a survival rate of less than 10% at 10 years.
THE VERDICT: The case settled for $1.9 million before a complaint was filed.
Rectovaginal fistula after delivery
A 27-year-old Arizona woman suffered a perineal laceration during vaginal delivery of her first child. She subsequently developed a rectovaginal fistula which persisted for 6 months until it was surgically repaired and closed. As a result of developing a divot in the rectum, she suffers from fecal seepage, which she alleged is a permanent condition.
The woman sued the obstetrician and alleged that her care was below the standard and that she failed to perform a rectal examination after the laceration, which caused the fistula.
The obstetrician argued that she correctly diagnosed and repaired the patient’s third-degree laceration, and claimed the wound later broke down for unknown reasons.
THE VERDICT: The jury returned a defense verdict.