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Would earlier cancer diagnosis have changed prognosis?

AFTER LAPAROSCOPIC ADHESIOLYSIS failed to resolve severe abdominal pain, a 52-year-old woman underwent removal of her ovaries and fallopian tubes in 2005. A pathologist reported that the tissue was a benign serous papillary rumor with psammoma bodies. Two years later, the woman's abdominal pain returned, and, over the next 8 months, her primary physician sent her for several magnetic resonance imaging scans that revealed little change in the lower pelvis.

A diagnostic laparoscopy in 2008 found low-grade IIIC primary peritoneal carcinoma thought to have originated from her ovaries and fallopian tubes. The surgeon testified that there was cancer everywhere in the woman's peritoneal cavity. After comparing pathology slides from the two procedures, the surgeon believed the tissue was virtually identical, and that the patient had been misdiagnosed in 2005.

* PATIENT'S CLAIM qhe pathologist was at fault for not diagnosing cancer or borderline cancer in 2005. Had it been diagnosed then, the patient's chances of survival would have been increased by almost 70%.

* PHYSICIAN'S DEFENSE According to a gynecologic pathology expert who reviewed both tissue samples, the 2005 diagnosis was reasonable. An earlier diagnosis would not have changed the woman's prognosis.

* VERDICT A Washington defense verdict was returned.

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Title Annotation:Medical Verdicts: NOTABLE JUDGMENTS AND SETTLEMENTS
Publication:OBG Management
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Jul 1, 2011
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