29 Year Old Mother Dies from Failure to Diagnose Cancer

During trial, Jason Rubin settled a medical malpractice case arising out the death of a 29 year old wife and mother as a result of defendant's failure to diagnose colon cancer.

Decedent, who had a history of Type II diabetes, presented to her internist in January 2001 for management of her diabetes. The internist performed a complete blood count (CBC) which exhibited microcytic hypochromic anemia- a condition where there is diminished hemoglobin in the blood and the red blood cells are small and pale. This type of anemia is commonly a result of iron deficiency caused by blood loss- menstrual or gastrointestinal. Despite the internist's plan to follow up on the finding of anemia, no such follow up was performed.

In May 2001, decedent learned she was pregnant and came under the care of a high risk obstetrics clinic. Blood testing performed early in the pregnancy demonstrated severe iron deficiency anemia. Decedent was placed on oral iron supplementation but remained iron deficient anemic throughout the entirety of her pregnancy.

After giving birth in November 2001, decedent continued to exhibit severe iron deficiency anemia and was required to undergo a blood transfusion in January 2002. In May 2002, decedent was referred to a hematologist, who administered IV iron treatment. However, decedent did not respond to this treatment and she continued to exhibit severe iron deficiency. In September 2002, decedent started to experience abdominal pains and a CT scan of the abdomen was performed, which indicated a mass adjacent to the colon. A colonoscopy was performed and decedent was diagnosed with Stage ITIC colon cancer. She underwent a hemicolectomy and chemotherapy. Unfortunately, the cancer recurred and she died in December 2003.

At trial, Jason claimed that the physicians treating decedent failed to do a sufficient work- up to determine whether her iron deficiency anemia was being caused by gastrointestinal blood loss. Jason claimed that a simple, non-invasive test known as a stool guiaic should have been performed which would have revealed blood in the stool, which should have then lead to further investigation with a colonoscopy.

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