NEW HAMPSHIRE TRIAL LAWYERS ASSOCIATION VERDICTS AND SETTLEMENT REPORT

P.O. BOX 447

CONCORD, NH  03301

 

Case Title:                Anonymous v. Anonymous

 

County:                      Strafford   

 

Date of Injury:          July 19 & 20, 1999

 

Liability Facts:    This is a medical negligence claim. From at least 1993 until his diagnosis, the plaintiff used the defendants as his primary care providers, and they were aware of all of his past medical conditions.  They also knew that he had never been screened for colon cancer and he was 73 years old when he came to them with complaints of spontaneous rectal bleeding.  On July 19, 1999, the plaintiff called the defendants with a complaint of spontaneous rectal bleeding three times that day, each time filling the toilet bowl with blood.  The defendant advised the plaintiff that he should come into the office the next day or go to the emergency room that evening if the bleeding worsened.  Following these instructions, on July 20, 1999, the plaintiff went to the defendants’ office, with his complaints of spontaneous rectal bleeding and lower abdominal discomfort since the prior day.  The defendant performed an examination, including a CBC with results within normal limits and a fecal occult blood test with negative results. No explanation for the bleeding was found, and no further testing was performed.  Despite the recommended standard of care for screening colonoscopy beginning in 1999, particularly given the plaintiff’s symptoms of spontaneous rectal bleeding and lower abdominal discomfort, no further tests were done and no recommendation for a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy is documented.  Indeed, no diagnosis or cause for the bleeding was made at all.  Between July 1999 and July 2001, the plaintiff saw the defendants 2 other times for unrelated complaints. At neither of these visits was a screening colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy recommended, despite the plaintiff’s age, past medical history and lack of colon cancer screening.  The plaintiff was diagnosed with metastatic adenocarcinoma of the colon in November 2001 and he died from complications of this condition on January 12, 2003. 

           

Plaintiff:  Sex:   M   Age at time of injury: 73           

 

Plaintiff's Theory of Liability:       The defendants failed to order the appropriate and necessary diagnostic testing and failed to

 

Defendant's Theory of Defense:    The defendants denied negligence.

 

Injuries:  (Diagnosis/Prognosis/Permanency): Due to the delayed diagnosis in this case, the plaintiff suffered through numerous hospitalizations, surgeries, drainage for his ascites, chemotherapy and other medical care, and was unable to receive many of the cancer treatments he would have been eligible for had the diagnosis been made earlier.  The plaintiff suffered significant abdominal and back pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, insomnia, and weight loss during the months before his death, and he died from metastatic disease 14 months after his diagnosis.  His wife of more than 52 years had a loss of consortium and suffered severe emotional distress watching her husband suffer.  She also lost significant household services from losing her husband who was a carpenter and master electrician, in addition to his three pensions that they relied heavily upon.

 

Specials:

 

Medical Expenses:                                                                                                                              $  36,071.24

Funeral Expenses:                                                                                                                               $    6,821.00

Economic Loss to Estate:                                                                                                       $309,616.60

 

Total Specials                                                                                                                                                 $352,508.84

 

 

Settlement: The parties reached a confidential settlement after filing suit but prior to trial.

 

Counsel for the Plaintiff:

Mark A. Abramson, Esquire; Kevin F. Dugan, Esquire and Holly B. Haines, Esquire