CA: failure to diagnose lesion--death results: judgment for Dr. granted in part--denied in part.
CASE FACTS: Fred Watts saw Dr. Gebre Gobezie on October 22, 1999, complaining that he could not eat, had difficulty swallowing, and was trying to lose weight. Although the patient belched constantly, he reported that his appetite was good. The patient also complained of generalized fatigue, a wheezing Wheezing Definition
Wheezing is a high-pitched whistling sound associated with labored breathing.
Wheezing occurs when a child or adult tries to breathe deeply through air passages that are narrowed or filled with mucus as a cough, shortness of breath Shortness of Breath Definition
Shortness of breath, or dyspnea, is a feeling of difficult or labored breathing that is out of proportion to the patient's level of physical activity. , and a history of hypertension, nausea, constipation, headaches, and frequent urination urination
Process of excreting urine from the bladder (see urinary system). Nerve centres in the spinal cord, brain stem, and cerebral cortex control it through involuntary and voluntary muscles. The need to void is felt when the bladder holds 3. . After examining the patient, Dr. Gobezie diagnosed the patient with questionable reflux esophagitis, peptic ulcer disease Peptic ulcer disease (PUD)
A stomach disorder marked by corrosion of the stomach lining due to the acid in the digestive juices.
Mentioned in: Indigestion
peptic ulcer disease See Duodenal ulcer, Gastric ulcer, GERD. , exogenous morbid obesity, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
n. Abbr. COPD
A chronic lung disease, such as asthma or emphysema, in which breathing becomes slowed or forced. , and degenerative osteoarthritis. Dr. Gobezie recommended various diagnostic tests including esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD)
An imaging test that involves visually examining the lining of the esophagus, stomach, and upper duodenum with a flexible fiberoptic endoscope.
Mentioned in: Bleeding Varices
esophagogastroduodenoscopy. ) if the patient's symptoms continued. Since the patient's symptoms continued, an EGD with possible biopsy was ordered. The patient's esophagus appeared "ulcerated Ulcerated
Damaged so that the surface tissue is lost and/or necrotic (dead).
Mentioned in: Adenoid Hyperplasia and angry looking." The physician admitted the patient for observation and further management. A biopsy specimen was sent to a pathologist to determine whether there was any evidence of necrosis or acute and chronic inflammatory cells consistent with Barrett's Esophagus. The patient's symptoms persisted. On March 3, 2000, the patient sought a second opinion from Dr. Moothdath Menon, who performed a second EGD and biopsy. Dr. Menon discovered 3-4 cm circumferential mass lesion, which was slightly ulcerated and highly suspicious for neoplasm neoplasm or tumor, tissue composed of cells that grow in an abnormal way. Normal tissue is growth-limited, i.e., cell reproduction is equal to cell death. . The pathology report revealed poorly differentiated infiltrating adenocarcinoma. The patient died of gastroensophageal carcinoma one month later. The plaintiffs wife filed suit against Dr. Gobezie alleging negligence and wrongful death. The Superior Court, San Bernardino County, granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment motion for summary judgment n. a written request for a judgment in the moving party's favor before a lawsuit goes to trial and based on recorded (testimony outside court) affidavits (or declarations under penalty of perjury), depositions, admissions of fact, answers . The plaintiff appealed.
COURT'S OPINION: The Court of Appeal of California affirmed the lower court's granting of summary judgment for the defendant physician as to the cause of action for wrongful death. However, the court reversed the lower court's granting of summary judgment as to recovery for the negligence of Dr. Gobezie in failing to timely diagnose and treat the patient's condition. The court noted that based on the decision by the Division of Medical Quality Control of the Medical Board of California, the plaintiff had raised a triable tri·a·ble
1. Capable of being tried or tested: a triable plan.
2. Law Subject to judicial examination: a triable case. issue of fact as to Dr. Gobezie's breach of the applicable standard of care. The trial court took judicial notice of the Board's decision. The court concluded that it clearly raised an issue of fact as to whether the defendant provided competent care for numerous patients, one being the decedent. Watts v. Gobezie, 2003 WL 21702461 P.2d--CA
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