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Late diagnosis of Liver Cancer (cholangeocarcinoma)

CATEGORIES: Misdiagnosis Cancer Cases CASE LOCATION: Allegheny Co., PA. CLASSIFICATION: Multi-Million Recoveries

The Kander Case

Case Summary

A Doctor’s failure to follow up on his own reports led to a late diagnosis of advanced stage liver cancer. The client had several visits between 2007 (when the malignancy was first spotted) and 2011 and underwent several CT scans before receiving the diagnosis. In the trial that followed, the jury returned a verdict in the amount of $5.7 Million.

Case Details

Ellen Kander was a 46-year old wife and mother of 3 children when she underwent a CT scan in 9/07 for a suspected hernia Her lymph nodes, lungs, spleen and liver showed areas suspicious for a malignancy, the largest nodule appearing on her liver. She began treatment at the Defendant oncology center and by the Defendant oncologist at that time. The Decedent underwent another CT scan in 11/07 and another CT scan in 4/08, both of which demonstrated essentially the same findings. Defendant Oncologist wrote that he intended to order another scan in, at most, a year, but failed to do so despite frequent return visits by the Decedent over the course of the ensuing 3 years. In 5/11, the Decedent underwent a CT scan at another facility while being seen for a different medical condition, at which time, the liver tumor had grown enormously and was by then diagnosed as advanced-stage liver cancer. The Decedent died from liver cancer a year after the diagnosis.

The family approached the Defendant Oncology Center and attempted to negotiate a settlement/tribute to the Deceent; however, the Ocology Center was adamant that its physicians did nothing wrong and would never settle the case. Our client/widower came to us and we filed suit. Indeed from the inception of the case up through jury verdict, the Defendant would not entertain any settlement discussions. At trial, our experts testified that the defendant itself stated the standard of care in writing in the Decedent’s medical record that a CT of a suspicious liver tumor would be performed within a year; dthat had such a scan been conducted, the liver cancer could have been excised for a total cure. The Defendants experts testified that the patient’s symptoms which compelled the plan to perform a CT scan had diminished and so there was no need to perform further scans. The defendants’ experts also testified that the tumor that developed was not the same benign tumor that was originally recognized.

The close-knit family presented the jury with a compelling loss for the widower and children; and in spite of the Decedent not having a substantial wage history, she was an impressive contributor to the local community by reason of her many charitable endeavors.

Following a 2-week trial, a jury returned a verdict in the amount of $5.7 Million.