$575K For Failing To Diagnose Pancreatic Cancer

Delay in Cancer Diagnosis

The New York Injury & Malpractice Law Firm, P.C. recovered $575k for a 50-year old male arising from a 14-month delay in the diagnosis of pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer in Orange County, New York.

The patient presented with persistent complaints of abdominal pain with his primary care physician. Blood work revealed abnormal levels of pancreatic enzymes (Amylase and Lipase) and over time, the patient’s hemoglobin and hematocrit dropped to less than half of their normal levels. A drop in hemoglobin and hematocrit can be a sign of gastrointestinal bleeding.

The primary care physician ordered an abdominal ultrasound, but the test was not performed. The primary care physician ordered a referral to a gastroenterologist, but the referral was not carried out and the patient was not seen by a specialist.

After 14 months of treatment with the primary care physician, the patient was admitted to a hospital with a complaint that he was coughing up blood (hemoptysis) and a blood transfusion was performed. An abdominal CT scan revealed a pancreatic endocrine tumor that spread into the back wall of the stomach and a total gastrectomy (surgical removal of the stomach) was performed.

The contention in the lawsuit is that an imaging study of the abdomen should have been performed when the patient was diagnosed with acute pancreatitis and had persistent complaints of abdominal pain and a drop in his hemoglobin and hematocrit. Had the imaging study been performed earlier, at least part of the patient’s stomach could have been spared and he would not have B12 deficiency, Vitamin D deficiency and malabsorption.