Failure to Timely Diagnosis Malignant Melanoma

Failure to Timely Diagnosis Malignant Melanoma

Verdict: Not Guilty

Date: December 2010

County: Lake

PLTF Medical: Dr. Malcolm Bilimoria (Oncologist) and Dr. Ermilo Barrera (Oncologist)

PLTF Experts: Barrett Sachs, D.P.M. (Podiatrist, Dr. Alfred Torrence (Internist) and Charles Linke, Ph.D. (Economist)

DEF Experts: Dr. Daniel Derman (Internist), Dr. Timothy Kuzel (Oncologist), Ronald Sage, D.P.M. (Podiatrist)

Summary: Plaintiff saw his general practitioner, Dr. Huang, for problems with the 4th toe on his left foot. Dr. Huang prescribed antibiotics for a presumed infection and referred him to a podiatrist. 1 month later, Plaintiff saw a podiatrist, Dr. Brown. Dr. Brown diagnosed an abscess infection and prescribed more antibiotics. The culture came back positive for staph infection. Plaintiff returned to Dr. Brown 1 week later. His condition had improved but a black spot was still on his toe.

Plaintiff returned to Dr. Huang complaining of a lump in his groin. Plaintiff was diagnosed with malignant melanoma which began beneath the nail of his left 4th toe. Plaintiff died 1 year later at the age of 52. The estate contended that the physicians failed the standard of care required. Further that Dr. Huang had a duty to ensure that a biopsy was performed even after the patient saw a podiatrist.

The defense argued that an earlier diagnosis would not have changed the outcome based on the extent of metastasis. The outcome of Plaintiff’s melanoma was determined more by the type of cancer rather than the timing of diagnosis or treatment.

Category: Medical Malpractice, Wrongful Death

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