$600,000 Settlement – Failure to Diagnose Cancer

Ken Elwood recently sued a pathologist at Christ Hospital and the Hospital itself on behalf of the estate and family of a 56-year-old woman. The woman had had a hysterectomy in 1995, and the pathologist who examined the slides of her ovaries and fallopian tubes after that surgery failed to notice that there were cancer cells present.

This led to an eleven month delay in the diagnosis of the cancer , allowing it to spread. The patient lost the chance of a possible cure or a longer survival.

The Hospital defended on the grounds that it had no way of knowing that its pathologist would act negligently, and had exercised proper supervision over its employee. On the surface, the Hospital’s argument was persuasive.

But Ken, with the help of the Blume Donnelly staff, had conducted intensive research and investigation into the background of this pathologist and his history at the hospital. Several depositions were taken. Ken’s research uncovered the facts that two years before the misdiagnosis in this case, the hospital’s quality improvement committee had recommended that this pathologist not be appointed to the medical staff. Despite that recommendation, the medical executive committee appointed him anyway as the chairman of the department of pathology. Mr. Elwood argued that the hospital was negligent in hiring and retaining this particular pathologist.

Ken negotiated a $600,000 settlement on behalf of the woman’s estate, to which both the pathologist and the hospital contributed.