NEW HAMPSHIRE TRIAL LAWYERS ASSOCIATION VERDICTS AND SETTLEMENT REPORT
P.O. BOX 447
CONCORD, NH 03301
Case Title: Anonymous v. Anonymous
Date of Injury June 2002-July 2005
In June of 2002, the plaintiff, a 40 year old, married, mother of two teenage boys, presented to her primary care physician, the defendant, with complaints of a six-month history of change in bowel habits, two episodes of painful bright red bleeding, constipation, bloating, and abdominal pain. Despite his alleged consideration of these potentially fatal conditions, the defendant did nothing to rule them in or out of his differential diagnosis. He did not perform a rectal exam, an anoscopy, or a flexible sigmoidoscopy; nor did he refer the plaintiff to a gastroenterologist for a colonoscopy. The defendant saw the plaintiff four more times between 2002 and 2004, and he never followed up on any of her complaints, despite never reaching a definitive diagnosis. In 2005, the plaintiff again presented to the defendant with complaints of lightheadedness, bright red blood in her stool, and pain in her rectum. At this visit, the defendant did perform a limited rectal exam. The defendant again did not perform any sort of endoscopic procedure in this 43-year old woman with rectal bleeding and he did not provide her with a referral to a gastroenterologist for a colonoscopy.
Two months later, the defendant saw the plaintiff again to address the same complaints. Following this visit, the defendant finally referred the plaintiff to a gastroenterologist for evaluation. Upon examination, a sigmoidoscopywas performed. During the procedure the doctor found that “within a few centimeters of the anal opening, there was a circumferential, heaped up, friable tumor.” Multiple biopsies of the tumor revealed an invasive, moderately differentiated adenocarcinoma arising within a tubulovillous adenoma. The plaintiff then completed two courses of chemotherapy and four out of five scheduled weeks of radiation therapy. In November of 2005, the plaintiff was admitted to the hospital for abdominal perineal resection and permanent colostomy placement. Metastatic adenocarcinoma was identified in 24 of 28 lymph nodes. The plaintiff was than found to have metastases to her brain. The plaintiff also developed metastases to her abdomen. In 2006, the plaintiff’s cancer spread to her liver, lungs, vertebrae, chest wall and thoracic cavity. Despite aggressive treatment and her positive attitude, the plaintiff died in 2006 at the age of forty-four.
Plaintiff: Sex: F Age at time of injury: 40
Sex: M Age at time of injury:40
Sex: M Age of Boy 1: 15
Sex: M Age of Boy 1: 17
Plaintiff’s Theory of Liability: The defendant failed to order the appropriate and necessary diagnostic testing and failed to properly refer the plaintiff for additional consideration, care and treatment, and otherwise failed to exercise due care.
Defendant’s Theory of Defense: The defendants denied negligence.
Due to the delayed diagnosis in this case, the plaintiff suffered through chemotherapy and radiation treatment, a colonic resection and placement of a permanent colostomy, and numerous hospitalizations. The plaintiff suffered significant weight loss, water retention and bloating in her abdomen and ankles, panic attacks, severe back and shoulder pain, and conscious pain, suffering, mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life during the months before her death. She died from metastatic disease 16 months after her diagnosis. Her husband of more than twenty years suffered a loss of consortium and severe emotional distress watching her suffer. He also lost significant household services from losing his wife, who was a part-time accountant and ran an impeccable household and provided all of the meals and services that a homemaker provides.
Loss of Support from Future Earnings $563,823.00
Loss of Household Services $713,931.00
Loss of Childcare Services $ 45,481.00
Loss of prospective Inheritance $ 84,100.00
Funeral/Burial Services $ 20,714.75
Medical Expenses $925,875.85
Total Economic Loss: $2,353,925.60
Settlement: The parties reached a confidential settlement at mediation, after suit but prior to trial.
Counsel for the Plaintiff:
Mark A. Abramson, Esquire; Kevin F. Dugan, Esq; and Holly B. Haines, Esquire Abramson, Brown & Dugan
1819 Elm Street
Manchester, NH 03104
Paul O. Scott, Esquire
Clark, Perdue, Arnold & Scott Co., LPA
471 East Broad Street, Suite l400
Columbus, Ohio 43215-3853