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Failure to Diagnose - Philadelphia Injury and Malpractice Attorneys - The Beasley Firm

Court Removes Absurd Barrier To Missed Pap Smear / Cervical Cancer Case

By Max Kennerly, Esq. on April 1, 2014 - No comments

When it comes to medical malpractice lawsuits, the deck is often stacked against patients. That’s a hard concept for many people to accept after years of advertising and lobbying by insurance companies and health systems to mislead the public, but, truth is, studies even by medical professionals have shown that the malpractice system, if anything, is too protective of doctors, and too often lets them off the hook for deadly mistakes.

A malpractice case decided last week by the Court of Appeals of Georgia shows just how difficult these cases can be, and how it can take years, and numerous court rulings against the patient, just to get a case in front of a jury.

Cathleen Lavelle had a pap smear in April 2006, which was then sent along to the Laboratory Corporation of America (“LabCorp”) for review. Patients aren’t told this, but, when pap smear biopsies are sent off for review, they are often not reviewed by a doctor but by a “cytotechnologist” reviewing pathology slides from over 100 patients a day. The cytotec isn’t supposed to do the work of the medical pathologist, they’re just supposed to see if there’s anything at all abnormal about the cells on the slide, and, if so, then send the slide to a pathologist for a real review.

The slides from Cathleen’s Pap smear showed abnormalities, but the cytotec missed them and so her developing cervical cancer went undiagnosed. The whole point of a pap smear, of course, is to catch these abnormalities early on and to treat the abnormality before it becomes cancerous, as more than 90% of these cases can be successfully treated if caught early on. If not caught early, however, it can be deadly. Cathleen’s opportunity was lost and her cancer spread. The cancer was eventually diagnosed, but by that point it was too late, it metastasized, and it took her life.

Her husband brought a malpractice lawsuit against her gynecologist and against LabCorp, alleging that they had failed to timely diagnose her abnormalities and then treat her, thereby preventing the development and spread of her cervical cancer. His lawyers then did what good lawyers do: they asked a Professor of Pathology, Oncology, and Gynecology and Obstetrics at Johns Hopkins with experience in cytotechnology and interpreting pap smear slides and who has been publishing about these issues in peer-reviewed journals for years to review the case, to see if those original slides showed signs of cellular abnormalities, and to give her opinion about whether or not the doctor and lab court were negligent.

The medical professor said that the case was a “blatant miss,” that the cytotech should have noticed the abnormalities on the cells, and that a pathologist would have agreed the abnormalities warranted specific follow-up by any gynecologist or family medicine doctor. The medical professor then also said that, even beyond her own “focused review” on the slide itself, two “blinded reviews” were done, in which a cytotech or pathologist looked at the same slides without knowing where they came from and found cell abnormalities.

Sounds reasonable enough, doesn’t it? What more could possibly be asked of a plaintiff in a malpractice lawsuit than to hire one of the top experts in the country to explain, in detail, what went wrong, what should have happened, and how her outcome would have been different if the right thing had been done?

LabCorp, however, challenged the sufficiency of the expert’s testimony, and – incredibly – convinced the trial court to throw out the case against it, without even a jury trial. In short, the court held that the professor of pathology oncology couldn’t be trusted to do a focused review at all (due to ‘hindsight bias’), and that the blinded reviews were done improperly. The judge, of course, had no medical training, experience, or education, at all, and then they’re just supposed to apply the law, and not think they know the medicine.  Nonetheless, the Court felt its interpretation of guidelines provided by the College of American Pathologists and the American Society of Cytopathology was good enough that it could tell a Johns Hopkins professor that her opinion was “unreliable” and that she isn’t even allowed to testify before a jury.

If this sounds, well, crazy, it’s because it is crazy, and yet it happens all the time. Courts are supposed to be mindful of the potential for “junk science” to make its way into the courtroom (as I’ve written before, most of this junk science comes from big corporations or from malpractice insurers trying to avoid paying legitimate claims), but many courts take that “gatekeeper” function way too far, and presume it’s up to them — rather than the experts and a jury — to decide what the science and medicine really show.

Thankfully, last week, the Court of Appeals of Georgia reversed the trial judge’s ruling and sent the case back down, with the expert’s opinion back in evidence. I would say “all’s well that ends well,” but three points need to be made:

  • First, it has been several years since this lawsuit was filed, and the surviving spouse has still not been given their chance to present their case to a jury, and, even now, it will be at least several months before they get the opportunity to do so, so there’s more than a little bit of “justice delayed, is justice denied.”
  • Second, in the Georgia Court of Appeals, four judges agreed to reverse the case, but two judges felt the trial court was right! This shouldn’t be a close question.
  • Third, following up on that last point, this case is just one of many. Throughout the country, everyday malpractice plaintiffs have parts of their cases dismissed, and sometimes the whole case dismissed, because a judge ruled that they knew the science and medicine better than the expert witness asked by the plaintiff to testify in the case.

I hope this ruling is part of a trend, with courts being a little more respective of the role of experts and the jury in our system, but I fear that this is more likely just a successful battle in the middle of a long and difficult war. Congratulations to Frank Ilardi in Atlanta for his hard-won victory, and I wish him and his client the best on their continued pursuit for justice.

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High Blood Sugar Or Hyperglycemia In Patients Receiving Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) Are At A Higher Risk Of Death

By The Beasley Firm on January 4, 2013 - No comments

Research published by the American Diabetes Association shows that non-critically ill patients who develop hyperglycemia or a high blood sugar after receiving total parental nutrition (TPN) or hyperalimentation are more likely to die in the hospital.

TPN is used in patients who cannot or shouldn’t get their nutrition by eating.  TPN may include a combination of sugar, carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, electrolytes and trace elements.  TPN is administered to any patient, from premature infants in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to the elderly if it is medically necessary for nutritional purposes.

The research found that patients who were not critically ill who had an average blood glucose or blood sugar level above 180 mg/dl due to TPN had a 5.6-fold increase in wrongful death as compared to those patients whose blood sugars were below 140 mg/dl.  The increase in mortality persisted even after accounting for patient age, nutritional status, sex, other medical conditions, high blood sugar prior to TPN, diabetes, C-reactive protein level, albumin level, hemoglobin levels or infections.

Hyperglycemia or too much sugar in the blood can cause the following problems:

  • Polydipsia – frequent or excessive thirst
  • Polyphagia – frequent or pronounced hunger
  • Polyuria – frequent urination
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Weight loss
  • Dry mouth
  • Poor circulation
  • Poor wound healing
  • Dry or itchy skin
  • Numbness or tingling in the extremities, especially the feet and legs
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Recurrent infections
  • Seizures
  • Irregular heart beat or cardiac arrhythmia
  • Coma
  • Death

This most recent research data suggests that the goal of blood sugar control in patients who are not critically ill, with or without diabetes, who are receiving TPN or hyperalimentation, should be to have a blood glucose level below 180mg/dl.  According to the authors, “This study opens the door to further prospective studies in non-critically ill patients to determine whether stricter blood glucose control during TPN infusion improves the outcome for patients and reduces mortality.”

If you or a loved one developed complications from a high blood sugar or hyperglycemia, we may be able to assist you.  Here at the Philadelphia Beasley medical malpractice law firm we have on staff physicians and nurses who have cared for patients on hyperalimentation or who had hyperglycemic episodes.  Please feel free to contact one of our lawyers, doctors or nurses at 1.888.823.5291 for a strictly confidential and free consultation.

For over 50 years we have been a leader in Philadelphia’s legal community when an individual who has been harmed, is looking for a law firm to represent them. Since 1958, The Philadelphia Beasley Law Firm attorneys have represented some of the most prominent and powerful people in the area and obtained record setting verdicts and settlements, including the first ever million dollar verdict in Pennsylvania. Our Firm has obtained hundreds of verdicts or settlements that were $1 million and above, and has had over two billion dollars awarded on behalf of our injured clients.

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Too Much Sodium or Salt in the Body Due To A Pharmacy Medication Or Drug Error Can Lead To Death Of A Patient

By The Beasley Firm on January 4, 2013 - No comments

In September 2010, a 24 week premature little boy was born in an Illinois hospital.  Due to his prematurity, he had to receive all of his nutrition from intravenous (IV) fluids and electrolytes.  The newborn was doing very well after birth until a grave mistake made by a pharmacy technician caused an extremely high level of sodium in his little body or hypernatremia.

The pharmacy technician, who was following a doctor’s order, filled the IV bag with 60 times the amount of sodium that should have been added.  It was also discovered that the initial label on the IV bag correctly identified the incorrect amount of sodium.  Instead of discarding the IV fluid with the incorrect sodium amount, a new label was created showing the correct sodium dosage and was placed over the first label.  The nurse administering the IV fluid was not made aware of the mistake or the creation of a new label.

In the following days, when this little boy’s lab tests were showing an extremely high sodium level, it was chalked up to being an incorrect lab result.  Sadly, it was not an incorrect lab result and he died of hypernatremia or excessive amount sodium in his body.  His parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit blaming a series of hospital, pharmacy, nursing and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) or neonatologist negligence that led to his untimely death.

Hypernatremia or a high sodium level in the body can cause mental status changes, confusion, lethargy, irritability, weakness, edema or swelling, muscle twitching, exaggerated reflexes, tremors, seizures, coma and death.

In addition to receiving an overdose of sodium, individuals can suffer from hypernatremia if they do not have enough water intake or are dehydrated.  The elderly, chronically ill, children and overworked athletes are at a high risk of developing hypernatremia.  It is very important that a healthcare provider diagnose and quickly treat a high sodium level before it results in a catastrophic injury or death.

Our highly specialized legal and medical teams here at the Philadelphia Beasley wrongful death law firm have evaluated numerous cases where hypernatremia, dehydration or a high sodium level was not properly diagnosed or treated in a timely manner, and it led to a catastrophic injury or wrongful death.  If you think you or a loved one has suffered due to a medication error please feel free to contact one of our lawyers, doctors or nurses at 1.888.823.5291 for strictly confidential and free consultation.

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A Delay In Diagnosing Or Treating A Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Can Lead To Pyelonephritis, Urosepsis, Septic Shock, Kidney Damage Or Death.

By The Beasley Firm on January 3, 2013 - No comments

Pyelonephritis is urinary tract infection (UTI) that has traveled up and out of the bladder, into the ureter and reaching the pelvis of the kidney.   Women who are sexually active, infants, the elderly and patients with indwelling urinary catheters are at an increased risk of developing pyelonephritis.

If you have a urinary tract infection (UTI), you may experience burning with urination, an urgent or frequent need to go to the bathroom, cloudy or dark urine, and pelvic or lower abdominal pain.  A low grade fever may or may not be present.  If a UTI is not diagnosed and treated properly, it could lead to the development of pyelonephritis.

Patients with pyelonephritis, or kidney infection, may present with a high fever, fast heart rate, painful urination, blood in urine, nausea, vomiting, shaking chills, night sweats, abdominal pain or tenderness over the costovertebral angle.  The costovertebral angle is located on either side of the back in between the 12th rib, and vertebral column, where the kidneys are located.  Pain is also present in that area if there is a kidney stone or inflammation of the kidney.  If there is a failure to diagnose or treat pyelonephritis, it could lead to urosepsis or an overwhelming bacteria invasion of the blood stream.  Sepsis or septic shock can lead to a very low blood pressure, fast heart rate, difficulty breathing, decreased urine output, organ failure, coma or even death.

Bladder infections, UTI’s or pyelonephritis can be caused by E. coli, enterococcus faecalis, coliform bacteria, enterococci, pseudomonas or klebsiella.  In order to confirm what organism could be causing the infection, a urine culture with antibiotic sensitivity needs to be performed.  Not only will the test diagnose what bacterium is causing the infection, it will determine what antibiotic is best to help treat the infection.  Most times, if the infection is diagnosed and treated early enough, the patient will only have to take oral antibiotics or pills to treat the infection.  However, if there was a delay in diagnosing the infection, the patient may need to be admitted to the hospital for intravenous (IV) hydration and IV antibiotics.  If urosepsis or septic shock is present, additional medications may be needed to maintain the blood pressure and other vital organ functions.  A failure to properly treat urosepsis could lead to an infection related death.

If you, your child or a loved one has suffered due to a delay in diagnosing and treating a UTI, kidney infection, bladder infection or pyelonephritis, please feel free to contact one of our experienced medical malpractice lawyers, doctors or nurses at 1.888.823.5291 for a strictly confidential and free consultation.  To date, we have been awarded over $2 billion on behalf of our injured clients.

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Surgical Equipment Tools Are Still Being Left Behind In Patients And Wrong Body Parts Operated On During Surgery. Why?

By The Beasley Firm on December 28, 2012 - No comments

In the December 19 issue of the journal Surgery, an analysis of medical records showed that doctors leave towels, scalpels, retractors, hemostats, lap pads, cotton balls, sponges and other surgical equipment inside patients’ bodies on average about 39 times a week.  Surgeons also operate on the wrong body part approximately 20 times a week and also operate on the wrong patient, about 20 times a week.  After reviewing 9,744 medical malpractice lawsuits and other medical records, the research team found that over 80,000 major surgical errors happened between 1990 and 2010. Approximately 7 percent of those surgical patients died, and a third of them suffered a significant or permanent injury as a result of the surgery mistake.

Dr. Marty Makary, a surgeon at Johns Hopkins Medical Center and the author of the book “Unaccountable”, indicates that the study’s findings may underestimate the actual amount of surgical errors that take place each year.  While he believes some surgical errors may be unable to be avoided, the types of mistakes found in this study should never happen. The surgical errors that were found were not because the doctor was negligent, but because the hospitals do not have systems in place to prevent these surgical accidents.  Even though there are “time out” periods, marking of the part of the body that the surgery is going to be performed on and the use of surgical equipment with radio frequency ID (RFID) tracking clips, it is not enough to stop surgical mistakes from happening.  One thought is to force all hospitals to report all surgical errors, not just the ones that wind up as a lawsuit, so that more safety measures could be put in place to avoid mistakes during a surgical procedure.  It is extremely important to make sure the entire surgical team works together to prevent these errors or recognize and fix the errors before they cause permanent damages.  This also includes making sure that the surgical nurse’s feel comfortable enough and supported when standing up to a surgeon when a mistake was made or about to be made.

Here at the Philadelphia Beasley Law Firm, our teams of lawyers, doctors and nurses have reviewed thousands of medical records where there was a surgical item left behind in a patient, or the wrong part of the body was operated on.  If you or a loved one was a victim of surgical negligence you may be eligible for compensation.  Please feel free to contact a member of our surgical mistake negligence team at 1.888.823.5291 for a strictly confidential and free consultation.

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Can A Stomach Virus, Stomach Flu Or Food Poisoning While Pregnant Hurt Your Baby?

By The Beasley Firm on December 28, 2012 - No comments

Most times, a stomach virus, stomach flu or food poisoning is not dangerous to your baby while you are pregnant.  A pregnant mother who is vomiting or who has diarrhea while pregnant is treated with bed rest and fluids or admitted to the hospital and administered intravenous (IV) fluids until she is able to keep food and fluids on the stomach.  However, a recent finding may make Obstetricians, Pediatricians and Neonatologists pay more attention if a mother is sick during pregnancy or if a newborn becomes ill shortly after birth.

Swiss researchers reported that a newborn became ill with a type of E. coli bacteria after he acquired it from his mother during delivery.  What was really unusual about this finding is that the mother did not have any symptoms of a stomach virus or food poisoning during pregnancy.  Two days after a normal delivery, the newborn started vomiting and within a week, developed seizures and kidney failure.  The baby eventually developed hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) that was caused by a shiga toxin.  When the mother was tested, it showed that she was infected with a strain of E. coli that produces the shiga toxin.  Stool testing from both the mother and baby showed that both were infected with the same strain of E. coli and shiga toxin.

This less potent strain of E.coli bacteria meant that the pregnant mother was able to carry this bug without having any symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.  However, since her newborn baby’s stomach was still germ free or sterile, the bacteria were allowed to multiple in the baby’s body without other bacterium attacking it.

The E. coli bacterium can be found in contaminated food such as undercooked meat, dairy products, and juice.  It can also be present in swimming pools or lakes that are contaminated with feces and at petting zoos. Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) develops when the E. coli that is in the stomach or intestines starts to make toxins or poisons that get into the bloodstream and destroy the red blood cells and platelets.

Even though there are only a few other cases, that we know of, where there was mother-to-baby transmission of shiga toxin-producing E. coli, this must always be a possibility as a source of infection in a newborn even if the mother was not sick during the pregnancy or delivery. Just like any other bacteria, including herpes or group B strep (GBS), that is known to pass from mother to baby during birth, a failure to diagnose and treat the E. coli infection could lead to serious injuries or even death to a newborn.

Here at the Philadelphia Beasley birth injury law firm, we have been award numerous million and multi-million awards and settlements on behalf of birth injured newborns and babies infected with GBS and other infections during labor and delivery.  Our experienced lawyers, doctors, prenatal nurses, labor and delivery nurses and neonatal intensive care (NICU) nurses are here to help you if your baby was injured during birth or developed an infection in the newborn period.  Please feel free to contact us at 1.800.588.0310 for a strictly confidential and free consultation.

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Sepsis, Septic Shock, Blood Poisoning Or Untreated Infections Can Cause Heart Failure, Liver Damage, Kidney Failure, Amputations, Blindness And Death.

By The Beasley Firm on December 27, 2012 - No comments

In Brooklyn, New York (NY), a mother of a 12-year old daughter, underwent a routine gynecological (GYN) operation.  During the surgery, her bowel or intestine was punctured causing a massive infection or sepsis.  The overwhelming blood poisoning caused her to develop blood clots in her legs that led to a decrease in her circulation and gangrene in her limbs.  As a result of the overwhelming infection, she had to have both of her gangrenous legs amputated.  She is currently seeking unspecified monetary damages for the alleged medical malpractice of the doctors and hospital that were treating her at the time of the surgery.

Sepsis, also called bacteremia, septicemia, septic shock or blood poisoning is caused by an infection or abscess that starts somewhere the body. If the infection is not diagnosed or treated properly it could lead to organ failure, brain damage, clotting problems or even death.  Patients who are septic or in septic shock may exhibit the following signs or symptoms:

  • A very high fever or very low body temperature
  • A fast heart rate or tachycardia
  • Hyperventilation or breathing fast
  • Low blood oxygenation or pulse ox reading
  • A change in mental status or confusion
  • A low blood pressure or hypotension
  • Cardiovascular dysfunction or heart failure
  • Respiratory failure or Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)
  • Brain encephalopathy
  • Coma
  • Brain hemorrhage
  • Microthrombi or blood clots
  • Liver failure
  • Low platelets and easy bruising or petechial rash
  • Prolonged bleeding times or high International Normalized Ratio (INR)
  • Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (DIC)
  • High bilirubin level
  • Low urine output or no urine produced
  • Electrolyte abnormalities such as a high potassium level or hyperkalemia
  • Fluid or volume overload
  • Renal or kidney failure

Infections or sepsis are usually caused by staph, strep, ecoli, pseudomonas, P. aeruginosa, E. corrodens or enterococcus bacteria.  In adults, the most common causes of sepsis are abscesses or boils, peritonitis, a ruptured or perforated bowel, kidney stones, strep throat, urinary tract or bladder infections, pyelonephritis, meningitis, pneumonia, surgical wounds, surgical drains, bedsores or decubitus ulcers, cellulitis,  infected intravenous (IV), PICC line, central lines or  any other catheter that is in the body such as a Foley catheter.  In children, common causes of sepsis are osteomyelitis or an infection of the bone, untreated strep throat, and in neonates or newborns, sepsis can be caused by a prolonged rupture of the amniotic fluid, Group B strep (Beta strep or GBS), Chlamydia,  an infected IV or umbilical line or pneumonia.  Many times, a newborn or child will present with a fever, rash or flu-like symptoms and a physician or pediatrician believes the infection is a virus or viral in nature, when in fact it is a bacterial infection and will not prescribe antibiotics until it is too late.

Once an infection is suspected, a culture of the blood, urine, sputum, wound, abscess, pus, tissue, throat or catheter tip should be carried out to see what organism is causing the infection.  Once the organism is identified a sensitivity report must be generated to see what antibiotic the bacterium is sensitive to.  Some bacterial infections have become resistant to certain antibiotics and will not help in treating the local infection and preventing sepsis.  It would be like giving a sugar pill or placebo to treat the infection, which obviously will not work in killing the organism.

If you or a loved one developed sepsis or septic shock that resulted in organ damage, an amputation, brain damage or death, it may have been due to:

  • The infection not diagnosed in a timely manner
  • The infection was not treated soon enough
  • Being placed on the wrong antibiotic
  • Not being placed on an antibiotic
  • Being told it was a virus or viral infection
  • Being placed on the wrong dose of antibiotic
  • Not prescribed an antibiotic long enough

Since 1958, The Philadelphia Beasley Firm has been the law firm that many judges, lawyers, and doctors turn to when facing catastrophic injury or wrongful death due to medical malpractice, sepsis or septic shock. The Beasley Firm is chaired by medical doctor, James Beasley, Jr., a “Super Lawyer” and one of the “Best Lawyers in America.” Our medical malpractice sepsis team also has a complete full time nursing and medical research staff — including two doctors who are attorneys, and several emergency room and intensive care registered nurses.

If you, your baby, or loved one has suffered due to an infection that was not properly treated, please feel free to contact one of our experienced medical malpractice lawyers, doctors or nurses at 1.888.823.5291.  Our highly specialized failure to treat infection team consists of doctors and nurses who have spent thousands of hours at patient’s bedsides treating individuals with overwhelming infections and sepsis.  To date, we have had over $2 billion awarded on behalf of our injured clients with multiple million and multi-million verdicts and settlements.

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Medical Negligence Or Lab Errors Can Cause A Delay In Diagnosing Ovarian, Uterine or Cervical Cancer.

By The Beasley Firm on December 4, 2012 - No comments

A delay in diagnosing cervical cancer is largely preventable. Early pre-cancerous changes or cervical dysplasia can usually be detected on routine or yearly pap smears. Dysplasia or abnormal cells are present on the cervix before cancerous cells appear.  When diagnosed and treated early, treatment is usually minimally invasive and highly successful. Once cancer forms in the cervix, which is the opening to the uterus, and it is not treated, it can grow and spread to the uterus, ovaries, bowel, bladder and other organs.

Cancer screening using the Pap smear test can identify cervical abnormalities and potentially precancerous changes in the cells of the cervix or cervical tissue. However, many women who are tested for cervical cancer receive inaccurate test results due to a lab error or failure to report abnormal Pap smear findings leading to a delay in diagnosing and treating cervical cancer.

A failure to detect cervical dysplasia or early cervical cancer on a Pap smear is not the only cause of cervical cancer misdiagnosis. Failure to diagnose or delay in diagnosing cervical cancer can also be caused by a doctor ignoring a woman’s symptoms or complaints of:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Vaginal odor
  • Discoloration of vaginal discharge
  • Abdominal pain
  • Painful intercourse
  • Bleeding after having sex
  • Bladder problems
  • Bowel changes
  • Blood in stool or after having a bowel movement

If your Pap smear is abnormal or you begin to have any of the above symptoms, your physician may perform a colposcopy to get a biopsy of the outer cervix or a Loop Electrical Excision Procedure (LEEP) to biopsy the inner lining of the cervix to check for cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, a precursor to cervical cancer.  Even though squamous cell cancer makes up for about 80-85% of the cervical cancer cases, adenocarcinoma, adenosquamous carcinoma, small cell carcinoma, neuroendocrine tumor, glassy cell carcinoma and villoglandular adenocarcinoma can also be present on the cervix.

Once cervical cancer is diagnosed, it is staged by clinical findings rather than surgical findings.

  • In Stage 0, the cancer is confined to the outer layer of cervical cells and is often referred to as carcinoma in situ (CIS)
  • In Stage I, the carcinoma extends deeper into the cervix, but not beyond it.
  • In Stage II, the cervical cancer invades the uterus, but not the uterus or lower third of the vagina.
  • In Stage III, the cancer tumor spread to the pelvic wall and/or lower third of the vagina.  There may also be hydronephrosis or an enlarged non-functioning kidney.
  • In Stage IV, the cancer has spread past the pelvis and may have involved the bladder or rectum.  If it is Stage IVB, it has spread to distant organs such as the liver, lungs or bone.

With early diagnoses and treatment, 80-90% of women with Stage I cervical cancer and 50-65% with Stage II will be alive 5 years after the cervical cancer diagnosis was made.  If the cancer developed into Stage III at the time of diagnosis, there is a 25-35% five-year survival rate.  Women, who at the time of diagnosis were Stage IV disease, only have a 5-year survival rate of 15% or less.

If you believe there was a misdiagnosis of cervical cancer or there was a lab or pathology report error that caused a delay in diagnosing your cervical carcinoma, you may be eligible for compensation.  Please feel free to contact one of our New Jersey or Philadelphia delay in diagnosing cancer lawyers, doctors or nurses at 1.888.823.5291 for a strictly confidential and free consultation.

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Jim Beasley Jr. Wins $12.6 Million Verdict In Breech Birth Umbilical Cord Prolapse Case

By The Beasley Firm on November 3, 2012 - No comments

On November 2, 2012, after a two week trial, a Philadelphia jury awarded over $12 million to a severely brain-damaged child represented by Beasley Firm attorney Jim Beasley, Jr.. The malpractice award will ensure the child, who is now three and a half years old, will have fully adequate medical care to meet his substantial needs. In the lawsuit, the family alleged a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) at Penn OB/GYN Associates, the obstetrics practice of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP), was negligent while caring for the mother and child during the pregnancy.

When his mother was 38 weeks pregnant, the baby had flipped around inside her and was in a “breech” position (butt and feet first) rather than head down.  The midwife diagnosed this during a routine prenatal visit, but failed to call a physician to attempt to externally turn or rotate the baby back into a head first position.  Instead, the mother was discharged without care, and scheduled for a cesarean section the following week without any warning that there was a risk of umbilical cord prolapse (UCP).  The day before the mother was supposed to have the cesarean section (C-section), her water broke and the umbilical cord prolapsed, or fell out of her vagina, and was in between her legs.  She was rushed to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) but by the time the baby boy was delivered by emergency C-section it was too late. At birth, the little boy required resuscitation, mechanical ventilation, and now suffers from severe brain damage due to hypoxia (a lack of oxygen to the brain), all caused by the prolapsed umbilical cord. He was admitted to the HUP neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and then transferred to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) for intensive management of his brain injury and organ damage.

After two days of deliberations the jury awarded $1.5 million in lost earnings, $3 million in pain and suffering, and $8.1 million in future medical expenses. Jim Beasley represented the family through two years of litigation, conducting depositions of the health care providers and retaining and preparing expert medical witnesses. At trial, Jim explained to the jury complicated medical studies showing how complete and footling breech positions — like the child had — are associated with increased risk of cord prolapse versus frank breech or vertex presentations. They further explained and proved how the midwife was negligent in failing to recognize that risk (for example, the ultrasound image was poor quality, and yet there was also no attempt to obtain more information about the amount of amniotic fluid, placental location, cord location, fetal status, presence or absence of anomalies or more details or causes for this breech malpresentation) and bring in an OB/GYN or Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist to attempt to correct the problem.

If you or your baby has been injured during pregnancy, labor or birth, please feel free to contact one of our birth injury lawyers, doctors or nurses at 1-(888) 823-5291 for a free, confidential consultation.

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Malpractice Lawyer Marsha Santangelo, M.D., Of The Beasley Firm, Wins A $1.97 Million Verdict Against Fox Chase Cancer Center (FCCC) In A Failure To Diagnose Tubo-Ovarian Cancer Trial In Philadelphia

By The Beasley Firm on October 5, 2012 - 1 comment

After only just a few hours deliberation, after a two week trial, a Philadelphia jury awarded the client of Beasley Firm attorney Marsha Santangelo, M.D., $1.97 million in damages for a Fox Chase Cancer Center (FCCC) oncologist’s failure to detect, diagnose, and treat our client’s locally recurrent tubo-ovarian cancer. Dr. Santangelo’s client’s gynecological cancer was treatable, if it had been caught in time, but now it has metastasized, is terminal, and she has less than a year to live. The defendant doctor and Fox Chase Cancer Center were so confident they would win the case they did not make any offer to settle the case prior to trial.

In 1999, this woman was diagnosed with tubo-ovarian cancer, confined to the pelvis, at Temple hospital.  She underwent surgery and chemotherapy with no evidence of residual disease or cancer following treatment. She continued to be followed by her gynecologic oncologist at Temple University Hospital until 2000, when that surgeon no longer practiced in Pennsylvania, and our client transferred her gynecologic oncology care to FCCC.  From 2000 through 2008 our client was regularly evaluated by the Fox Chase oncologist for routine surveillance, including physical exams and radiology imaging studies of the abdomen and pelvis or x-rays and CT scans.  Physical examination and radiology studies remained normal from 2000 through 2003.

In 2004, the FCCC doctor documented in office notes that she was able to feel a round fullness on pelvic and rectovaginal exam, and a CT of the abdomen and pelvis that was ordered confirmed the presence of a mass in the pelvic cul-de-sac (space between the rectum and vagina).  The oncology office notes continued to document the presence of a growing mass on pelvic exam, and imaging studies continued to confirm the presence of a mass in the abdomen. Radiologists involved in the interpretation of imaging studies all identified in their reports that the lesion was growing in size.   Despite these worrying radiology findings, the oncologist continued to reassure our client that the findings on physical exam and imaging studies were merely fluid that can accumulate after surgery and that it was nothing to be worried about.

It wasn’t until our client presented to a different hospital, Holy Redeemer Hospital, for a blood clot in her leg, that a Holy Redeemer physician thought the abdominal mass was suspicious and recommended a biopsy.  At that doctor’s recommendation, our client underwent a biopsy by a Temple University Hospital gynecologic oncologist and the biopsy confirmed recurrent tubo-ovarian cancer.  At the time of cancer discovery and diagnosis, the tumor was unresectable (unable to be removed), and she could only have debulking surgery followed by postoperative chemotherapy.

In early 2011, our client began to experience back pain, and imaging studies of the spine confirmed multiple metastatic cancer lesions in the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine, as well as to the sternum, pelvic bone, arm, and lung.  Due to the late diagnosis of cancer recurrence, our client’s cancer is incurable, and her life expectancy is less than one year. Dr. Santangelo personally represented the client throughout the lawsuit.

All of us here at The Beasley Firm would like to thank each and every member of the Philadelphia jury who were able to objectively look at all the facts of the case and render a verdict in favor of this woman who only has a year to live due to medical negligence and a failure to diagnose cancer, and to provide her fair and adequate compensation.

If you or a family member are victimized by medical malpractice — as hundreds of thousands of Americans are every year — you need an experienced malpractice lawyer at a law firm with a proven record of success. We have that record, and today we just added to it. We have had over $2 billion awarded to our injured clients, and every year recovers millions of dollars in compensation for malpractice victims. If you feel you have been harmed or injured in anyway please feel free to contact one of our experienced lawyers, doctors or nurses at 1.888.823.5291 for a strictly confidential and free consultation.

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