(Filed January 5, 2016) Jurisdiction
U.S. Federal Court in BaltimoreDefendants
- Three Lower Counties Community Services, Inc. (a service provider considered a "deemed employee" of the United States under federal law)
Plaintiff, a resident of Salisbury, Maryland, undergoes a pelvic ultrasound ordered by Three Lower Counties Community Services, Inc.
Three Lower Counties is an Eastern Shore healthcare provider in Salisbury. It also has offices in Pocomoke and Princess Anne. This facility is considered a "deemed employee" of the United States under federal law under 42 U.S.C. 233, which means lawsuits against it are covered by the Federal Tort Claims Act.
The Federal Tort Claims Act allows victims to sue the federal government. However, restrictions such as a two-year statute of limitations, individual immunity from suit, and limits on attorneys' fees can make it more challenging for victims to find an attorney. Significantly, the Act also only provides for trial by judge, denying victims a jury trial.
Many lawyers are hesitant to file lawsuits under the FTCA in light of these obstacles. So when you see a medical malpractice suit filed under the Act, there is an excellent chance that it is a meritorious claim because only a few attorneys are filing close call cases.
Plaintiff has an ultrasound which reveals greater than normal thickening of the endometrium (a membrane of the uterus). Three Lower Counties sends a biopsy specimen to Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings ("LabCorp") for further analysis.
LabCorp's diagnosis of the specimen does not explain Plaintiff's condition. LabCorp notes that the biopsy specimen is "minute" and "may not survive processing." Despite the potential inadequacy of the biopsy specimen, Three Lower Counties informs Plaintiff that the results of the biopsy are negative and diagnoses Plaintiff with uterine leiomyoma with endometrial thickening, non-life threatening conditions.
Three years after the biopsy Plaintiff returns to Three Lower Counties, complaining of bleeding. It is discovered that Plaintiff has Stage III endometrial cancer. The prognosis is typically death within five years. So the pain and suffering damages almost certainly exceed the Maryland cap on non-economic damages. In addition to having to undergo chemotherapy and radiation, this woman has to live with the possibility that she has terminal cancer.
Plaintiff files a medical negligence cancer misdiagnosis lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. She alleges that Three Lower Counties doctors violated the standard of care by failing to recognize that the biopsy specimen was inadequate for a proper diagnosis. Plaintiff's expert believes that a reasonable doctor would have asked LabCorp to repeat the test. Plaintiff contends that had an adequate biopsy been performed, her cancer would have been diagnosed at Stage 1, rather than at Stage III, three years later. Stage 1 is usually curable by surgery; whereas, Stage III endometrial cancer is life-threatening.
- Failed to recognize specimen was inadequate and that another sample was needed for a proper diagnosis
- Violated standard of care by notifying Plaintiff that biopsy was negative.
- Medical negligence
- David Iddenden: Board certified OB/GYN at Thomas Jefferson in Philadelphia who has been in practice for 40 years.
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