The Coonelly Case
Our client, an otherwise very healthy and active 76-year old married father and grandfather, was diagnosed with malignant testicular mesothelioma. The malignancy was first recognized by a biopsy 7 months before he was informed about it; however, due to negligence of his Urologist, it slipped through the cracks causing a significant delay while the cancer progressed.
In February, the Defendant Urologist performed a right hydrocelectomy on our client. It was unclear from the records whether the Defendant Urologist sent any specimens to pathology.
In September, the Defendant Urologist performed a second right hydrocelectomy. During this second right hydrocelectomy, the Defendant Urologist removed a right testicular appendage and sent it to the pathology lab; however, he failed to mention the same in his operative report and/or to our client.
Shortly thereafter, the pathologist who reviewed the specimen issued a pathology report with a Final Diagnosis noting that the appendage was sent to a specialist at John Hopkins who diagnosed Malignant mesothelioma.
There was no dispute that the Defendant Urologist received a copy of the pathology report. In fact, someone in his office noted “Will discuss results with patient at their appt on 10/7”.
On October 7th, our client saw the Defendant Urologist in his office; however, the pathology findings were never discussed with our client and/or even noted by the Defendant Urologist in his records from that visit.
In November, our client had another follow-up visit with the Defendant Urologist’s office and was seen by a physician’s assistant. Our client advised that he had a recurrence of hydrocele. The documented plan was to obtain a testicular ultrasound and, if hydrocele was confirmed, to schedule him for draining. At this visit, the pathology findings were still never discussed with our client and/or noted by the Defendant Urologist and/or his staff in his records.
Losing confidence in the Defendant Urologist and seeking a second opinion, our client scheduled himself to be seen by a different urologist in a different hospital system.
In December, our client saw the new urologist who ordered an ultrasound and noted that he requested the operative notes from the Defendant Urologist’s two right hydrocelectomies; however, recall in the prior operative reports, the Defendant Urologist failed to mention that any biopsy was even taken.
In April, the new Urologist performed a hydrocele repair. The pathology report from the new Urologist’s hydrocele repair reported malignant mesothelioma.
Our client was then scheduled for a PET scan which tragically reported lymph node involvement consistent with metastatic disease. Our client was then referred to the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center where he was advised that the median overall survival rate was 18-months. He began receiving immunotherapy; however, he was advised that immunotherapy was not successful. Thereafter, he underwent a bilateral Retroperitoneal Lymph Node Dissection, right orchiectomy with partial scrotectomy at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. Sadly, our client was on borrowed time due to the delay in treating his cancer.
We filed suit against the Defendant Urologist and his hospital-based practice. We moved the case expeditiously and move the Court to obtain a trial date in a relatively speedy time explaining that our client wanted to be alive for trial. Subsequently, the case settled prior to trial for a 7-figure amount. The settlement offered our client the peace of mind knowing that his wife will be taken care of after he is gone.