A New Jersey medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit was recently settled for $1,275,000 for the death of a 34-year-old woman whose stomach cancer allegedly was not diagnosed in time and resulted in her death in 2016. The woman died of stage IV cancer on August 29, 2016. The defendants included a gastroenterologist who had performed an endoscopy on the woman and a pathologist who read the slides from tissue biopsies taken during the endoscopy.
The New Jersey medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit that was filed in 2017 alleged that the woman had gone to the emergency room complaining of severe abdominal pain. An endoscopy was performed during which several tissue samples were biopsied and sent to pathology for analysis. The plaintiff alleged that the gastroenterologist took too few tissue samples and the locations where the tissue samples were taken were incorrect. The New Jersey medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit further alleged that the defendants were medically negligent in failing to perform a second endoscopy because the woman’s stomach ulcer was not healing.
The plaintiff’s medical expert reportedly opined that the woman would have had a five-year survival rate of between 50% and 68% if the cancer had been diagnosed at the appropriate time. The defense argued that the woman’s cancer had already metastasized by the time of the initial endoscopy and therefore her death would have occurred even if her cancer had been diagnosed earlier.
The New Jersey medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit was scheduled to be tried in October 2019. Shortly before the trial was scheduled to begin, the parties agreed to the settlement. The defendant pathologist contributed $1 million to the settlement and the defendant gastroenterologist contributed $275,000. The plaintiff was the husband of the deceased woman, in his capacity as the executor of her estate. A second pathologist was originally named a defendant in the lawsuit but was subsequently dropped as a defendant.
The woman’s obituary stated, in part: “Dina Michele (Arrigo) Wyckoff, 34, died Monday, Aug. 29, at Morristown Medical Center while surrounded by her loving family. Dina was born in Pequannock on Nov. 24, 1981. She lived in Pompton Lakes before moving to Franklin in 1985. Dina graduated from Franklin Elementary School, and was a Class of 2001 graduate of Wallkill Valley Regional High School. She also attended Sussex County Community College. Dina worked as a waitress at the former Fonebooth Restaurant and at the Irish Cottage Inn, in Franklin, for the past 20 years.”
The general rule is the earlier that cancer is diagnosed, and the earlier the appropriate treatment is started, the better the outcome for the patient.
If you or a family member may be the victim of pathologist malpractice or cancer misdiagnosis in New Jersey or in another U.S. state, you should promptly consult with a New Jersey medical malpractice attorney, or a medical malpractice attorney in your state, who may investigate your pathologist malpractice/cancer misdiagnosis claim for you and represent you or your family member in a cancer medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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