$1.65 Million For Delay In Diagnosing A Child’s Brain Tumor

Delay in Cancer Diagnosis

On October 11, 2011, an infant recovered the sum of $1,650,000 for a delay in diagnosing a brain tumor.

For a 4 1/2 month period, the 3-year old infant had 7 visits to his pediatrician and 3 visits to the Emergency Room in Ulster County, New York. The infant had intermittent complaints of severe head and neck pain, vomiting, nausea, lethargy, lack of appetite and light sensitivity (photophobia) and sound sensitivity. The diagnosis was “neck pain of unknown etiology”, i.e., “we don’t know what’s wrong with you”.

A CAT scan or MRI of the brain would have revealed the tumor at the base of the child’s brain known as the posterior fossa. Imaging studies, i.e., CAT scan or MRI of the brain, were not ordered to determine the cause of the child’s recurring symptoms and the treating pediatricians did not make a definitive diagnosis of the cause of the child’s chronic neck and head symptoms.

After 10 visits to the infant’s pediatrician and the Emergency Room, the infant’s mother assumed that the child had nothing wrong with him, and there was no further medical treatment for 8 months. Unfortunately, 8 months later, the infant had trouble standing up and he fell over while trying to walk. The infant’s mother took him to the Emergency Room, where a CAT scan of the brain revealed a tennis-ball sized tumor, known as an ependymoma, at the base of the infant’s brain. The tumor had spread from the base of the infant’s brain down his cervical spinal canal.

The infant’s neurosurgeon at the Albany Medical Center referred to the tumor as “huge”, and the tumor was removed surgically through a occipital craniotomy (removal of the back of the skull) and cervical laminectomy (operation on the infant’s neck).

However, as a result of the 13-month delay in diagnosing the tumor, the 4-year old infant sustained severe obstructive hydrocephalus, a buildup of cerebral spinal fluid within the brain. The huge tumor blocked the normal pathways for cerebrospinal fluid to flow from the ventricular system of the brain down the spinal canal. As a result of the blockage of the cerebral spinal fluid, the fluid collected within the ventricles of the brain. The buildup of cerebrospinal fluid within the ventricles of the brain caused the infant’s brain tissue to swell like a balloon and the compression of the brain tissue caused the death of brain tissue and resulting brain damage.

The infant was diagnosed with severe ventriculomegaly, which is the enlargement of the ventricles within the brain that was caused by the acute hydrocephalus. The loss of the infant’s brain tissue is similar to that of a 90-year’s natural loss of brain volume, according to the treating neurosurgeon.

According to the infant’s neurosurgeon and developmental pediatrician, the infant’s brain damage and resulting cognitive deficits would have been significantly less, and possibly avoided completely, had there been a timely diagnosis of the brain tumor by the pediatricians in Ulster County, New York.

In 2011, the infant had a recurrence of the brain tumor in the right frontal lobe of his brain and he underwent two operations at the Albany Medical Center. According to the infant’s physicians, the recurrence would have been unlikely had the infant’s pediatricians timely diagnosed and treated the brain tumor. Presently, the infant’s prognosis is uncertain.

The infant, now in the 3rd grade, has global developmental delays and attends special education for his educational needs. The settlement funds will provide for the optimal medical and educational needs of the infant for the remainder of his life through a supplemental needs trust.

If you have any questions about brain cancer, or would like more information, I welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882. You are always welcome to request a FREE copy of my book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, by sending me an e-mail at jfisher@fishermalpracticelaw.com .

$1,650,000 for brain tumor in 9 year old